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When a hematoma forms on a dog’s ear, it is called an othematoma. What are its causes, and how can it be absorbed?

What is a hematoma?

An othematoma is simply a hematoma that forms between the skin of the dog’s ear pinna and its internal cartilage. Made up of an effusion of serum and blood, and it presents as a swelling on the inside or outside of the ear. Rather soft inconsistency to the touch, an othematoma is usually very sensitive to dogs who might show signs of pain if you try to feel their ear.

An othematoma can appear in all dogs, although it is true that dogs with long, hanging ears are at a higher risk of developing one. In dogs with straight ears, an othematoma may be responsible for a folded ear that sags under the weight of the swelling.

Causes of an othematoma in dogs

In dogs, an othematoma forms when several small blood vessels that supply the pinna of the ear are ruptured.

These blood vessels can rupture due to:

with a blow to the ear,

constitutive fragility of the capillary blood vessels of the ear. This is particularly the case in ageing dogs in which an othematoma can occur spontaneously,

a blood clotting disorder,

self-inflicted trauma by the dog to his ear if he scratches his ears or shakes his head violently. Thus, an othematoma most often appears as a result of otitis, ear mites or as a “complication”, any other condition that causes severe itching and/or pain in the ear.

How to treat an othematoma?

If you suspect the presence of an othematoma, it is necessary to go to a veterinarian so that he can provide relief to your dog. In order to resolve the hematoma, he may administer anti-inflammatory drugs to your dog if the swelling in his ear is not too large or decide to drain him surgically.

In any case, if the othematoma is caused by an underlying condition, the vet will also try to treat it to prevent the dog from continuing to scratch or shake its ears at the risk of the othematoma growing larger.

Whether the othematoma resolves on its own or following surgery, it almost always leaves a dog’s ear deformity, which may be more or less severe depending on the extent of the hematoma.

Italian helichrysum against hematomas

If your vet has confirmed that your dog’s othematoma can be resolved without surgery, you can speed up the process by using Italian helichrysum essential oil (Helichrysum italicum ssp serotinum). This endemic plant of the Mediterranean scrub has anti-hematoma, anti-coagulant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is, therefore, ideal in cases of othematoma. Gently massage your dog’s ear with 2 to 3 drops of Italian helichrysum essential oil applied directly to the swollen area. This oil contains ketones and therefore should not be used in pregnant females, newborns, cats and animals with epilepsy.


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