You Make The Diagnosis: Name This Ear Condition in Cats

Ear problems are common in cats and dogs.  Pictured below is a wonderful cat who came to the clinic for an ear problem.  Please study the image then answer the following questions:  What is the name of this condition?  What causes it to occur? 

Diagnosis:  Aural Hematoma

Notice the thickened right ear on this cat.  This is an aural hematoma which means an accumulation of blood within the ear flap or pinna.  The pinna in dogs and cats is composed of two cartilage sheets with blood vessels in the middle.  Excessive head shaking or scratching rips the cartilage apart.  Blood flows out of the damaged arteries and veins into the space creating the swollen ear. 

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.