How to Take Care of a Dog's Hematoma

Updated July 20, 2017

A hematoma is a pooling of blood under the skin or in an organ or other location in the body that is caused by a broken blood vessel. In dogs, hematoma on the ear, or aural hematoma, is the most common type and involves an aggregation of blood under the skin of the ear flap, which can be caused by excessive scratching of the ears or intense head shaking. Dogs with long ears are more susceptible to picking up insects and irritants from the ground, which can lead to ear scratching and head shaking. It is important that you know the proper way to take care of a hematoma if your dog develops one.

Examine your dog's ears for a hematoma, which will look something like a large bubble. An ear with a hematoma will be abnormally swollen compared to the other ear. If you find such a swelling, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. The vet will insert a syringe into the hematoma and drain it of fluids. She will then bandage it and send both of you home, where you will continue to take care of your dog's hematoma.

Prevent the drained ear from becoming wet and keep it free of any irritants, such as insects. In addition to draining the hematoma, the vet will often prescribe topical medications and an oral antibiotic to be given to the dog for 10 days. Follow your vet's instructions for administering any prescribed medications

Return the dog to the vet, as scheduled, to ensure that the hematoma has not returned and the area is healing properly. If it has returned, it will have to be drained again, followed by another course of antibiotics.

Make an appointment with your vet for a third inspection of the hematoma. If the area has not yet healed, the dog may require surgery.

Schedule your dog for surgery if draining and medications do not clear up the hematoma. Clean any sutures following surgery at least twice a day until they are scheduled to be removed. According to, you should apply peroxide to a sterile pad or gauze and clean the area around the sutures

Check your dog's ear daily after the sutures have been removed, as it is still possible for the hematoma to return.


If possible, prevent your dog from getting ear infections, which can lead to hematomas. If your dog has long or droopy ears, make sure to dry them off after she drinks water.


Do not try to drain your dog's hematoma yourself. Properly draining the fluid is a job for a trained professional. Be sure not to let any fluid, medication or peroxide go into your dog's ear, as it may cause her to scratch at her sutures.

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