What is Hematoma in Dogs
Hematoma in dogs is a form of swelling of fluid- usually blood or blood-related tissue – that forms under the skin. Hematomas can appear anywhere on the dog’s body; however, they are most common in loose, vulnerable parts, such as the ear. Hematomas can also form where there is a break in a blood vessel under the skin.
When an injury, such as trauma to the ears, cuts, scratches, or even stings and bites occur, fluid can begin to build up under the skin. Hematomas can also sometimes occur when a veterinarian draws blood and the dog jumps away quickly, causing the needle to shift slightly. This results in swelling, and the inflamed area continues to grow in size. The swelling may be hot or bothersome to your dog or may be hard and very painful. If trauma continues, the swelling can also continue to grow as more blood vessels are damaged and continue to leak under the skin.
How Can I Prevent Hematoma in My Dog
While hematomas themselves are not usually found until after they begin to form, there are some things that can be done to prevent them from forming. If you notice your dog shaking their head repeatedly, either in response to an allergy or infection in the ear, it is best to stop it as soon as possible. Long eared dogs may also need the ears to be lightly bandaged against the head (if recommended by your vet), to prevent them from flapping and causing more damage.
If a small hematoma is seen forming under the skin, or you witness your dog get an injury that may lead to a hematoma, applying pressure such as a clean bandage can help prevent its formation. This allows any broken vessels to quickly seal, preventing leaking under the skin.
What Should I Do If I Suspect a Hematoma in My Dog
If you spot some form of swelling on your dog that may be a hematoma, it is best to bring him to your local vet for an exam. Minor hematomas will usually go away on their own as long as the source of trauma goes away. Hematomas may develop at the site where blood was drawn or IV catheter was inserted. Such hematomas will usually disappear on their own after a few days and some rest. However, larger hematomas such as ones that may form on the ear, may need to be drained by your veterinarian. The vet may also recommend antibiotics after drainage of the site to prevent the risk of an infection.
Some dogs are prone to chronic hematomas, especially of the ear or other loose folds of the skin. They may require further treatment, such as the use of an Elizabethan collar or head wrap. In some severe cases, the area may begin to become necrotic or have parts of the tissue die due to lack of blood supply. Especially long-eared dogs may also be prone to chronic hematoma. In these cases, surgery is usually recommended to either remove the dead tissue or shorten the ear to prevent further trauma. Surgery is usually rare and used as a last resort if other treatments do not work.
Natural Remedies for Treating Hematoma in Dogs
While it is hard to treat hematoma in dogs on your own, there are a few herbs that may help reduce swelling and inflammation, allowing the hematoma to naturally decrease in size on its own. Calendula and Hypericum can be used to reduce inflammation and placed directly on the wound site to stop bleeding. Bandaging wraps (however not so tight as to cut off circulation), Elizabethan collars, and gentle head wraps can help prevent or reduce hematoma.