This happy face in a Cone of Shame belongs to our friend Sugar. She wanted to pop in to talk about aural hematomas as she is a self-proclaimed expert on the subject! Aural hematoma is a condition where there is damage to the blood vessels in the ear flap and they bleed into the space between the skin and the cartilage of the ear. The blood gets trapped, causing a large "bubble" of blood or hematoma just under the skin.
This can happen due to trauma (bite or other wound) or, most frequently, from violent head shaking due to ear infections or foreign objects (grass seeds, wax balls, and sometimes hair) in the ear. This was the case for Sugar. She had a plug of hair and wax that had caused an infection and irritation in her ear. The irritation led to her shaking her head constantly and resulting in an aural hematoma.
There are a few treatment options for aural hematomas. Sugar's hematoma was severe so she was sedated and her ear was surgically drained and sutured back together. She had to spend some time in her E-Collar and a bandage while it healed. She also went home on some medication for pain and to treat the ear infection. It took a couple of rounds of treatment, but Sugar is back to herself these days!
Cheetgrass seeds are a VERY common cause of head shaking, pain, and aural hematomas when they work into the ear canal. We have a lot of it around this summer! Check your pets when they come in from outside. These seeds commonly cause infections in the feet and ears as they are expertly designed to move in only 1 direction! Bring your pet in if you suspect an infection or foreign object in the ear are causing head shaking. Seeds in the ears often require sedation to remove them, as they often end up right next to the delicate tissues of the ear drum. We would much rather remove seeds and treat infections than end up with a hematoma!