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My dog's ear is bleeding, when is it an emergency?

The potential causes of blood in your pup's ear canal can vary in severity, ranging from a small scratch to more serious conditions requiring immediate care. Here, our Westfield vets talk about the causes of bloody ears in dogs, how you can help stop a dog's ear from bleeding and when it might be a veterinary emergency.

Is it an emergency if my dog's ears are bleeding?

When a dog's ear is bleeding, there can be several different causes. This can include discharge from within the dog's ear, puffy tissues, or internal bleeding.

With bleeding that originates in the puffy tissues, there are pockets of fluid that occur usually due to previous trauma and more commonly in long-eared dogs.

What are some reasons that dogs might bleed from their ears?

While there can be many different causes, some of the most common reasons why your dog's ears might be bleeding include:

  • 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 which may potentially result in hematomas.

What symptoms accompany bleeding in dogs' ears?

Some of the symptoms that you may also notice if your dog is bleeding from their ears include:

  • 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 can I treat my dog if they have blood in their ears?

The first thing you should do if you notice blood in your dog's ear is to call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. There are a variety of causes behind ear bleeding, some of which can be serious. The only way to properly treat your dog is with a diagnosis and recommended treatment options from the vet.

If your dog's ear bleeding is only a small external cut there are a few steps you can take to stop 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
  • Bandages

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 bring your pet in to visit your nearest emergency animal hospital.

What will a vet do for blood in my dog's ears?

Your vet will perform a comprehensive examination of your dog's ears along with the necessary diagnostics. 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

How long is recovery from bleeding ears for dogs?

Just like most conditions, the sooner the issue is diagnosed and treatment begins, the sooner your dog will feel better.

If your dog's condition is caused by an ongoing condition then your vet will determine a long-term treatment plan. If the ear bleeding is caused by chronic ear infections then you will need to ensure you treat each one promptly to avoid complications.

When you should bring your dog to an emergency veterinarian in Westfield?

While all instances of ear bleeding in dogs should be seen by a vet, certain situations may require emergency veterinary care such as:

  • Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes
  • Signs 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.

If you see blood in your dog's ears and are concerned that they are experiencing an emergency, please contact our veterinarians in Westfield right away.

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