Bleeding in your dog's ears can concern any pet parent, whether it results from a minor irritation or a more serious issue. In this article, our emergency vets in Benicia discuss the causes of bleeding ears in dogs, the symptoms to watch for, and when you should consult your vet.
My Dog's Ear is Bleeding
If your dog's ear is bleeding, several factors could be responsible. These may involve discharge from the inside of the dog's ear, swollen tissues, or internal bleeding.
When bleeding stems from swollen tissues, it often results from prior injuries and is more frequently observed in dogs with long ears.
Causes of Bleeding in the Ear
As mentioned above, there are a number of possible causes of ear bleeding in dogs. Some of the most common reasons are:
- Trauma: Either self-inflicted or caused by an exterior source.
- Cancer: Either benign or malignant.
- Parasitic infestation: Such as ticks, fleas, mites or others.
- Infections: Bacterial or fungal infections.
Your dog may also experience systemic issues in certain cases, including:
- Bleeding caused by ear infections resulting in a systemic concern may result in a perforated eardrum.
- Your dog will likely scratch and shake their head, potentially resulting in hematomas.
Symptoms Related to Bleeding Ears in Dogs
If your dog's ear is bleeding, you might also observe these accompanying symptoms:
- Visible blood on the rim or just inside the ear
- Excessive head shaking or ear scratching
- Pain in the area
- Discharge of any color
- Foul odor
- Swelling of the ear and ear canal
- Issues with balance
- Avoiding opening their mouth
How to Stop Your Dog's Ears From Bleeding
If you spot blood in your dog's ear, start by calling your vet to arrange an appointment. Ear bleeding can have various underlying reasons, some of which may be significant. To ensure your dog receives appropriate care, consult the vet for a diagnosis and recommended treatment options.
If your dog has a minor external cut causing ear bleeding, you can take these steps to halt the bleeding:
Step 1. Make sure you have your dog in a safe and calm area.
Step 2: Grab your dog's first aid kit:
- Styptic powder (cornstarch or flour will also work)
- Antiseptic ointment
- Absorbent pads, gauze, or cotton balls
Step 3: Apply the styptic powder to the wound and hold the absorbent pads with firm pressure until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes, you should contact your vet.
Step 4: Apply the antiseptic ointment to the area surrounding the wound but not directly on it; otherwise, the bleeding may begin again.
If your dog was in a fight with another dog or animal, or if the wound is quite deep, you should contact your primary vet or visit your nearest emergency animal hospital.
How Your Vet Will Treat Your Dog's Bleeding Ears
Your vet will perform a complete examination and diagnostics to determine the issue. Once your dog's condition has been diagnosed, they will offer a treatment plan for the concern. Treatment options could include:
- Topical and/or oral antibiotic medications for treating infections
- Pain medications
- Steroidal medications for any inflammation
- Surgical drainage of hematomas
- Clean and flushing of the ear canal for build-up or foreign body removal.
- Treatments specific to certain diseases
Recovery Time For Bleeding Ears in Dogs
The recovery time and prognosis for treating bleeding ears in dogs improve significantly when addressed promptly.
Your vet will establish a long-term treatment plan if your dog's condition results from a persistent issue. In cases where ear bleeding stems from chronic ear infections, it's important to treat each infection promptly to prevent complications.
When is it an Emergency?
While a vet should see all instances of ear bleeding in dogs, certain situations may require emergency veterinary care, such as:
- Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes
- Other signs that your dog may need emergency care include the symptoms of infection or other ongoing or worsening symptoms.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.