Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Professional Version

Auricular Hematomas in Dogs, Cats, and Pigs


Sandra Diaz

, DVM, MS, DACVD, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University

Reviewed/Revised Aug 2021 | Modified Oct 2022

Auricular hematomas are small-to-large, fluid-filled swellings that develop on the concave surface of the pinnae in dogs, cats, and pigs. The pathogenesis for development of the lesions is unknown, but trauma from head shaking or ear scratching due to pruritus is almost always involved.

Treatment is surgical to allow drainage. After draining and flushing, several mattress sutures can be placed to eliminate the "pocket." Drainage and glucocorticoid instillation are successful in ~50% of cases. Drainage is best obtained with a butterfly connection or an IV catheter. Glucocorticoids are instilled to fill the cavity without causing skin distention. A short course of a low anti-inflammatory dosage of oral glucocorticoids is commonly added to this treatment. Addressing the underlying problem is important to prevent recurrence.

For More Information

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!