How much does dog ear hematoma surgery cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does dog ear hematoma surgery cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does dog ear hematoma surgery cost?

$500 – $2,500 average surgery cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$500 – $2,500 average surgery cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Jennifer Carlson
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

Average dog ear hematoma surgery cost

The cost of dog ear hematoma surgery ranges from $500 to $2,500. The total cost depends on your location, your dog's size and health, the hematoma size and severity, the veterinary practice type and fee structure, and the surgical techniques used. Treating the underlying cause is crucial to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Dog ear hematoma surgery cost
Dog's weight (in pounds) Average cost*
50 or less $500 – $700
51 – 75 $700 – $1,100
76 – 100 $1,100 – $1,500
100 or more $1,500 – $2,500

*Prices may vary by location and practice.

  • Other names for an ear hematoma include "aural hematoma" and "cauliflower ear."

  • A dog ear hematoma is not contagious, but the underlying cause of it may be contagious.

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Factors that influence the cost of dog ear hematoma surgery

Several factors can impact the overall cost of the surgery:

  • General veterinarian vs. specialist: Board-certified veterinary surgeons at specialty surgical facilities command higher fees than general practitioners at a typical veterinary practice.

  • Fee structure: Some vets charge one all-inclusive price that encompasses pre-surgery testing, anesthesia, surgical procedures, medication, and follow-up visits. Other clinics charge individual fees for each service, procedure, or medication, often resulting in a higher total cost.

  • Dog weight: Surgery typically costs more for larger dogs because the dog's weight affects the anesthesia and medicine dosage requirements.

  • Condition: Large, more severe hematomas require more extensive surgical repair, increasing the cost. Some dogs may have health conditions that require more complex anesthesia or a different treatment approach.

  • Pre-surgery tests: Pre-anesthesia blood work costs $100 to $200 on average but may be included in the surgery fee. While not all practices require pre-op testing, most vets recommend it to reduce the risk of complications from unknown health conditions.

  • Surgical technique: The surgical techniques and specialized equipment used impact the overall complexity and cost of the procedure. Some methods utilize CO2 lasers, which may cost more but allow for more precise treatment and often reduced recovery time.

  • Insurance coverage: Pet insurance policies that include non-routine or illness coverage help may pay for the surgery after you've met any deductibles.

  • Post-op care: Additional fees may apply for follow-up visits, extra sedation fees if needed during the follow-ups, and extended medication costs if complications occur. Vet visit costs typically include a $40 to $80 office visit fee, but many vets include the necessary follow-up visits in the surgery cost.

Underlying conditions

Diagnosing and treating the root cause of your dog's ear hematoma is crucial to reduce the risk of the issue returning. A vet can often determine the cause with physical examination alone. However, some issues require advanced imaging like an MRI or lab testing to identify parasites, bacteria, yeast, or inflammatory cells.

The table below details average costs for diagnosing and treating common causes of ear hematomas in dogs.

Diagnostic & treatment costs for dogs by type
Cost type Average cost
Individual costs
Ear cytology (ear swab and microscopic lab analysis) $25 – $40
Antiparasitic, antibiotic, or antifungal medication $10 – $50
Dog blood testing cost $80 – $300
Dog MRI cost $1,500 – $2,500
Allergy testing $195 – $300
Cost by condition*
Ear mites $200 – $500
Outer ear infection $100 – $250
Severe ear infection / middle or inner ear infection $300 – $3,000+
Total ear canal ablation (for chronic ear infections) $2,000 – $4,500+

*Average total cost for diagnosis and treatment

Dog ear hematoma signs & symptoms

An ear hematoma in dogs appears as a swollen, fluid-filled pocket, mass, or bubble on the ear flap. This may appear on the entire ear flap or just a small portion of it. Other common signs include:

  • Head shaking

  • Scratching or pawing at the affected ear

  • Head tilting to one side

  • Redness or discoloration of the ear

  • Signs of pain or discomfort when someone touches the ear

  • Firm, wrinkly outer ear (later stages)

What causes ear hematoma in dogs?

Ear hematomas in dogs are typically caused by aggressive head shaking or scratching, which can rupture blood vessels in the thin ear flap tissue (or the "pinna"). Blood then pools outside the vessel under the skin. The underlying reasons for the head shaking or scratching may include:

  • Allergies (food or seasonal)

  • Blood clotting disorders

  • Ear infections

  • Ear mites

  • Immune disorders

  • Foreign objects or debris in the ear canal

  • Trauma or injury to the ear

A veterinarian examining a dog's ear
A veterinarian examining a dog's ear

Surgery process for ear hematomas in dogs

The typical surgical procedure for large or recurring ear hematomas in dogs involves three main steps. This approach effectively removes the hematoma, eliminates the potential space for re-accumulation, and allows the ear flap to heal properly:

  1. Draining the hematoma: Under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision in the ear flap to drain out the accumulated blood and fluid from the hematoma pocket.

  2. Removing the hematoma pocket: After draining the hematoma, the surgeon carefully separates the skin from the cartilage within the ear flap. This eliminates the space where the hematoma had formed, preventing it from refilling with blood.

  3. Suturing & bandaging: The surgeon sutures the skin to the cartilage using a mattress pattern to essentially "quilt" the two layers together. This prevents any new pockets from forming between them. The surgeon then bandages or sutures the ear to the side of the dog's head to limit movement and further trauma during healing.

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What to expect after dog ear hematoma surgery

The recovery time for dog ear hematoma surgery ranges anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks. Your dog may experience nausea from the anesthesia and not want food right away, but this typically resolves within 24 hours. Other effects of the anesthesia, like grogginess, may linger for up to 48 hours.

Post-operative care often includes:

  • Keeping your pup isolated and in a quiet environment for a few days after the surgery.

  • Rest and limited activity during the full recovery period.

  • A cone or E-collar to prevent scratching at the surgery site

  • Administering pain medication and antibiotics if needed

  • Cleaning around the incision

  • Watching for unusual or excessive discharge

  • Follow-up visits for suture removal and monitoring

Other treatments for dog ear hematoma

Vets often recommend surgery for larger or recurring hematomas to prevent permanent scarring and deformity, but most of the time, they suggest less invasive treatment options first for small hematomas or if it's the first occurrence. These treatments may include:

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  • Needle aspiration: The vet injects a thin needle to drain the fluid. This treatment usually needs repeating and is common for small hematomas in their early stage.

  • Drain tube: Securing a drain inside the ear flap allows continuous drainage for a week or more. This is not a common ear hematoma treatment and it's typically only used on larger breeds.

  • Steroids:

    • Oral corticosteroids like prednisone treat inflammation and often help reduce head shaking and scratching.

    • A vet may also inject other steroid medications directly into the hematoma cavity after a drainage procedure.

  • Conservative care: Warm compresses at home may help reduce swelling and promote circulation. However, this alone may leave your dog in severe pain for 4 to 6+ weeks as the hematoma's fluid slowly absorbs back into the body.

FAQs about dog ear hematoma surgery

Does pet insurance cover ear hematoma surgery?

Most pet insurance policies cover ear hematoma surgery, as it is generally not considered a pre-existing condition. However, coverage requirements and amounts may vary depending on your specific policy and provider.

How can I prevent my dog from getting another ear hematoma?

Once you've addressed the root cause, managing the underlying condition and additional preventative measures lower the risk of your furry friend developing another painful ear hematoma. Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of recurrence:

  • Carefully adhere to post-operative care instructions after surgery.

  • Maintain regular ear cleaning and checks as advised by your vet.

  • Quickly address any signs of discomfort, head shaking, or scratching at the ears.

  • Avoid any trauma or injury to the ears during the healing process and beyond.

  • Consider protective ear coverings or head cones during activities that may risk ear trauma.

Can an ear hematoma kill a dog?

While ear hematomas themselves are not life-threatening, they can be extremely painful and may lead to complications if left untreated. Complications may include infections, permanent ear deformity, hearing impairment, and recurrence, which may require repeated surgical interventions.

How long does dog ear hematoma surgery take?

In most cases, dog ear hematoma surgery takes 30 to 60 minutes for the surgery itself. However, your dog may need to stay at the hospital for monitoring after having anesthesia, sometimes for several hours or overnight.

Questions to ask before scheduling dog ear hematoma surgery

Before scheduling ear hematoma surgery for your dog, ask your veterinarian the following questions to ensure the best possible outcome for your furry companion:

  • How often do you perform dog ear hematoma surgery?

  • What is the underlying cause of the hematoma, and how do we treat it?

  • Can you explain the details of the surgical procedure? What are the risks and potential complications?

  • Will the procedure require general anesthesia, and what are the associated risks for my dog's age, breed, or health status?

  • Will my dog need to stay overnight after the surgery?

  • How many follow-up visits will this need after surgery?

  • What is the total estimated cost, including surgery fees, anesthesia, hospitalization, medications, and any additional diagnostic tests or follow-up visits?

  • How quickly should I expect my dog to recover, and what are the post-operative care instructions?

  • Do you offer financing or payment plan options?

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