A dog’s ear hematoma (or aural hematoma) forms when blood pools between the skin and cartilage of the ear flap. Aural hematomas usually occur when a dog has an ear infection or skin allergy that causes the animal to shake its head or aggressively scratch the affected ear.
The condition is not life-threatening, but it does require immediate veterinary attention. So, how much does dog ear hematoma surgery cost?
In this article, we take a closer look at what commonly causes aural hematomas in dogs, what treatment your vet will use to remove it, and how much that treatment will cost.
Treatment Cost Breakdown
The following costs are likely to be incurred for the treatment of an aural hematoma in your dog:
- Initial veterinary consultation and examination
- Dressings and bandages
- Surgery or incisional drainage procedure
- Analgesic drugs
After the removal of your dog’s aural hematoma, it may need further preventative treatment. That will entail diagnosing the cause of the condition and taking steps to treat it; both of which will incur additional costs.
Cost of Treating Dog Ear Hematoma
The cost of treating a dog ear hematoma varies, depending on the veterinary practice you use, the course of action that your vet decides to take, and the size and complexity of the hematoma.
Veterinary consultation and examination – As soon as you notice the hematoma on your dog’s ear, you should seek veterinary advice. The treating vet will ask you for a history of your dog’s symptoms and will examine your pet. Following the examination, the vet will discuss possible treatment options with you; including the costs.
The cost of the initial consult and examination will vary, depending on your geographical location and on the experience and qualifications of the attending vet. The average price of a preliminary consultation with a regular, qualified vet is around $50.
Hospitalization – As your vet will treat your dog’s ear hematoma via an invasive procedure, your pet will require hospitalization for at least one day. That allows time for the operation to be carried out and means that your dog can be assessed during its recovery period before you take it home.
The likely cost for a day’s hospital admission is around $50.
Aural hematoma repair surgery – The most effective treatment for an aural hematoma in dogs is to treat the problem surgically. The typical cost for an aural hematoma repair is around $100.
If the vet opts to drain the hematoma without surgical intervention, the procedure will cost around $50.
Anesthesia – Your dog’s aural hematoma surgery will be carried out under local anesthetic.
Aural hematoma surgery is a relatively short procedure. So usually, about 30 minutes of anesthesia should suffice at the cost of around $85.
If there are complications or the hematoma is very large, the surgery may take longer; at a further charge of about $70 for each additional 30 minutes of anesthesia.
Pain relief – Following its operation, your dog will experience some discomfort and your vet will prescribe analgesic for a day or so to make your pet more comfortable.
Prescribed post-surgery medications are anelgesics in the form of the drugs Buprenorphine, Gabapentin, Tramadol. Commonly-used long-acting analgesic is Vetergesic which costs around $24 per dose. On the other hand, Tramadol 50mg tablets are being sold at around $1 per piece.
Anti-inflammatory drugs – In addition to pain relief, your vet will probably prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication that will keep any swelling of the operation site to the minimum and promote a quick recovery.
Metacam is a commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory drug for dogs and costs around $21 for a few days’ doses.
Dressings and bandages – After your dog’s surgery, the treatment site will be cleaned and dressed. The cost for bandaging the wound will be around $17.
Ear canal cleaning – If your dog’s ear hematoma were caused by an underlying condition such as mites or a skin allergy, your vet would probably recommend cleaning or flushing the ears at the cost of around $30.
Elizabethan collar – When your dog comes home, it will probably be fitted with an Elizabethan collar to stop it from scratching the operation site. An Elizabethan collar costs around $30 or even less.
Follow-up consult – Your dog will need to see the vet again a week or so after the procedure to have the operation site checked and redressed. Follow-up consults generally cost around $30.
What Causes Aural Hematomas in Dogs?
Dogs of any age, sex, and breed can develop ear hematomas; although the types with long, pendulous ears can be more susceptible.
Ear hematomas are generally caused by the dog aggressively scratching its ears or shaking its head, causing the ear leathers to slap against the dog’s skull. That trauma can cause blood to leak from the capillaries in the ear tissue – forming a pool between the exterior skin and inner cartilage of the outer portion of the ear leather.
The fluid forms a soft or sometimes firm lump that affects all or part of the ear flap. In some cases, the ear canal can be affected or the hematoma may form at the very tip of the dog’s ear.
Ear mites or bacterial infections of the ear canal often cause the irritation that leads to this self-inflicted trauma. Dogs that suffer from skin allergies can be predisposed to ear infections and that can cause repeated aural hematomas.
Your vet can quickly diagnose the hematoma during a physical examination. But the most critical aspect of the treatment is determining the underlying cause of the irritation that leads to the dog scratching its ear or head-shaking.
Your vet will most probably swab the ear canal and take a sample for microscopic examination that will reveal the presence of infection or parasites. An ear swab and stain costs around $25.
How are Dog Aural Hematomas Treated?
Aural hematomas are generally treated surgically. While the dog is under anesthetic, the vet makes an incision along the length of the hematoma on the ear’s inner surface. All fluid and blood clots are removed from the site and the wound is cleaned and flushed.
The inner surface of the ear is then stitched to the exterior surface. During the healing process, the two surfaces will rejoin through the formation of scar tissue.
The stitches will be left in place for several weeks while the incision is left open, allowing fluids to drain as the area heals. Once everything heals, your dog will need to see the vet again to have its stitches removed at the cost of around $30.
Prognosis and Prevention
Dog ear hematomas generally heal very well; often without scarring. However, unfortunately, dogs that have skin allergies are prone to suffering repeated aural hematomas.
If your dog starts shaking its head or repeatedly scratching its ears, seek veterinary advice before a hematoma develops. Prompt action will prevent your pet from suffering a lot of pain and will also save you from landing a big vet’s bill!