Well, this week Cici and I had a scary emergency and yesterday she had to have surgery. She has been itching again and I have not seen any fleas. But apparently there have been some. Maybe they are invisible? Well, she was scratching a lot and rolling on her back a lot, even on the concrete. And then she got all splotchy and blotchy and doing the zoomies in the house and being completely weird and whacko. She was going NUTS. And then, she scratched up the carpet by the front door. She has NEVER done that in all of the time I’ve had her (7 years!) and at 3 a.m. in the morning I discovered her ear had swollen up. It felt like and looked like the leaf of an aloe vera leaf. I Googled it and found out that she had blood in her ear. Then the blood started seeping out of her ear and forehead. I was distraught and upset and well, you know crazed. I called the vet asap and set up an appointment for surgery. (The best way to drain the blood).
And yesterday morning at 8 am, Cici had her ear drained of blood. And now she is wearing a cone (for a few weeks) and has sutures in her ear. She looks like an alien. Not sure if you can tell that from the photo below. And she has lots of pills to take in hot dogs (so that is not so bad). Am VERY relieved.
I think what happened was that Cici had a fox tail, one in each ear, a LARGE one in the ear that filled up with blood and when she was scratching and shaking her head, the blood vessels burst and developed into a hematoma. (Read more about a hematoma below).
Am VERY thankful for my anipals online, Susan S., Dana, Fifi LeBon Bon, and friends who gave me lots of moral support and one anonymous donor who helped foot the BIG vet bill.
I also want to thank Carie Broecker of Peace of Mind Dog Rescue who helped support with volunteers who drove us to and from the vet as well as picked up medicine for Cici. Ironically, Carie’s cat Betty Boop just had similar surgery as Cici’s, although for a different reason.
ALSO, I must mention, and hope that you would like to join me in seeing how we can set up an emergency pet health care system for low income families so that NO animal can be turned away from the medical vet care that they need because of lack of funds of the owner. It was an extremely situation for me as it was but then when the vet tells you that you have to come up with a large amount of cash ASAP, the crisis escalates. Some folks give up their pets to a shelter at that point. Or they post fundraising pleas for donations. All in all it is a VERY humiliating and difficult situation that WE NEED TO CHANGE. Most of us do not have extra cash, especially when living on a fixed income. If anyone wants to donate for Cici’s vet bill, please paypal us at prmatchmaker at yahoo.com.
A hematoma is an accumulation of blood under the skin. In the case of the ear this occurs as a result of damage to the ear flap in the pet that shakes its head excessively or scratches at the ear. Those pets with “floppy ears” are more prone to this condition although erect ear dogs and cats are occasionally affected.
The excessive shaking / scratching by the pet is often due to ear canal irritation. This may be due to ear infection (germs or foxtails), ear mites (small bugs that live in the ear canal), allergies (causing “itchy ears”), or fleas (that travel into the ear canal). The self-trauma ruptures the blood vessel inside of the ear flap, causing the blood clot. This hematoma separates the cartilage from the skin of the ear flap and causes the painful swelling.
If the hematoma is not drained the ear will remain painful for a period of time and then start to scar down on its own. This scarring creates a visible deformity of the ear that is permanent and may lead to future ear complications.
There are numerous treatment approaches that can be used:
Aspiration of the hematoma (with a needle & syringe) and bandage of the ear flap for 3-4 weeks. This treatment is the least expensive but also fails 75% of the time. It is considered an “economic alternative” when other methods of repair are not possible.
Drainage of the blood clot with a local anesthetic and placement of a special plastic drain tube into the ear flap is another method of treatment. A bandage is also used for many weeks (even after the tube is removed). This treatment has a higher success rate than simple aspiration (approx. 50%), is somewhat more expensive, but is also considered an “economic alternative” to recommended treatment.
Surgical drainage of the hematoma and applying stitches in the ear (utilizing a special foam ear pad) is the recommended treatment for this problem. The sutures actually serve to reattached the skin of the ear back to the cartilage. This allows for better, faster healing and often eliminates the need for a bandage. The success rate is greater than 98% with this treatment method. Two follow-up visits are required over a 3-week period.
Once the pet has had the hematoma corrected surgically it is rare to see a recurrence in the same ear although without thorough treatment of the underlying problem it could occur with the opposite ear flap.
HOME THERAPY MAY CONSIST OF:
Administration of oral medication or antibiotics
Using medicated ear drops
A special plastic collar to prevent further scratching of the ear flap during healing.
Beware of fox tails
So the moral of this story is KEEP YOUR DOGS and CATS safe and out of the foxtails. Make sure that the fleas stay far away. And if your dog gets allergies in the spring, give them what they need to stop the itching.