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Dog Ear Bleeding - Causes & Treatment

Today, our Gillette veterinarians discuss the causes of bleeding ears in dogs, other symptoms that may accompany ear bleeding, and when it's time to head to the vet.

Causes of Ear Bleeding in Dogs

Whenever you feel that your canine companion may be hurt or unwell it's bound to be distressing, so noticing that your dog has a bloody ear can be especially alarming. What could possibly be causing your dog's ear to bleed?

Below are just a few of the most common causes of ear bleeding in dogs.

  • Bacterial, yeast or fungal infections
  • Infections caused by an underlying health problem or perforated eardrum
  • Ear hematomas (puffy, swollen areas on the ear) caused by vigorous head shaking
  • Trauma or injury, either self-inflicted (ie: scratching too hard) or caused by an outside source
  • Parasitic infestations such as ear mites, ticks or fleas
  • Allergies leading to inflamed, itchy ears that your dog can't resist scratching

Symptoms Related to Bleeding Ears in Dogs

If your dog has bleeding in the ear you may also spot the following symptoms:

  • Visible blood on the rim or just inside the ear
  • Excessive head shaking or ear scratching
  • Pain in or around the ear
  • Discharge of any color
  • Bad odor coming from the ear
  • Swelling of the ear and ear canal
  • Problems with balance
  • Avoiding opening their mouth

How to Stop Dog Ear Bleeding

The first thing you should do if you notice blood in your dog's ear is to call your vet to schedule an appointment. Many of the causes of ear bleeding are serious and require veterinary care. Effect treatment begins with diagnosing the underlying cause of the problem. Your veterinarian can diagnose the cause of your dog's ear bleeding and provide targeted treatments to help resolve the issue quickly.

Here are some tips on how to treat a bleeding dog ear if it is the result of a small external cut:

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 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 is in a fight with another dog or animal, or if the wound is deep, you should contact your primary vet or visit your nearest emergency animal hospital for professional care.

How Vets Treat a Bleeding Dog Ear

Your vet will perform a thorough examination to determine the cause of the bleeding. Once your dog's condition has been diagnosed your vet will provide you with treatment recommendations to address the cause of the bleeding. Your dog's treatment may 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

Most dogs who receive treatment promptly recover quickly. 

If your dog's condition is caused by an ongoing illness then your vet will likely provide a treatment for the ear itself but also treatment to address the underlying health concern.

If an ear infection is the cause of your pup's bloody ear, be sure to follow your vet's care instructions precisely and administer your dog's medications as directed. Stopping treatment too early can lead to recurring ear inflammation and infections that become increasingly difficult to treat.

Treating ear problems as quickly as possible once symptoms arise, is the best way to avoid complications and prolonged infection.

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
  • Signs of pain
  • Showing symptoms of infection
  • Symptoms becoming worse or more severe
  • Bleeding that is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea

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 a bloody ear? Contact our Gillette vets right away, to book an urgent appointment for your four-legged friend.

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Red Hills Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gillette companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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