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Why is my dog's ear bleeding?

A dog's bloody ear can be a concerning sign for any pet parent whether due to a minor irritation or a more serious issue. Here, our Port Jefferson vets talk about the causes of bleeding ears in dogs, the symptoms that may occur and when to visit your vet.

Dog Ear Bleeding

Bleeding in dogs' ears can have a number of different causes. This can include discharge from within the dog's ear, puffy tissues or internal bleeding.

Pockets of fluid develop with bleeding that originates in the swollen tissues, frequently as a result of previous trauma and more commonly in long-eared dogs.

Causes of Bleeding in the Ear

Some of the most common reasons for dog ear bleeding 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 which may potentially result in hematomas.

Symptoms Related to Bleeding Ears in Dogs

If your dog has bleeding in the ear you may notice these other symptoms as well:

  • 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 find blood in your dog's ear, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian to make an appointment. There are numerous causes of ear bleeding, some of which are serious. The only way to properly treat your dog is to have a veterinarian diagnose him and prescribe treatment options.

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 visit your nearest emergency animal hospital.

How Your Vet Will Treat Your Dog's Bleeding Ears

To determine the problem, your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination and diagnostics. Once your dog's condition has been identified, they will recommend a treatment plan. Among the potential treatments are:

  • 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 are relatively quick if managed quickly.

If your dog's condition is the result of a chronic condition, your veterinarian will develop a long-term treatment plan. If chronic ear infections are causing ear bleeding, you should treat them as soon as possible to avoid complications.

When is it an emergency?

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
  • 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.

Does your dog have signs of blood in their ears? Please contact our vets in Port Jefferson right away to for an examination.

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