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Bleeding in Dog's Ears: Causes & Treatment

Does your dog have bloody ears? This can be caused by minor irritations or more serious medical concerns, so it's important to bring your pup to the vet if this symptom occurs. Here, our Orlando vets discuss common causes of bloody ears in dogs and how you can help stop them from bleeding.

My Dog's Ear is Bleeding

There may be several different causes for bleeding in dog's ears. These can include puffy tissues, discharge from within the dog's ear, or internal bleeding. 

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

Why are my dog's ears bleeding?

There are many potential causes or reasons for ear bleeding in dogs. Some of the most common triggers of bleeding include:

  • Trauma: Either self-inflicted or caused by an exterior source. 
  • Cancer: Either benign or malignant. 
  • Parasites: Including fleas, mites, ticks, or others. 
  • Infections: Bacterial or fungal infections.

Some cases of bleeding in a dog's ears may be a symptom or cause of systemic conditions. For example, your dog may scratch or shake their head, which can potentially cause a hematoma (a localized blood mass that's confined within an organ or tissue). In other cases, ear infections can cause bleeding that results in a systemic issue, which may lead to a perforated eardrum. 

What are symptoms of bleeding ears in dogs?

Your dog may also experience these symptoms in addition to bleeding:

  • Visible blood just inside the ear or on the ear rim 
  • Foul odor emanating from the ear 
  • Swelling of the ear and ear canal 
  • Excessive head shaking or ear scratching 
  • Pain in the area 
  • Balance issues 
  • Avoiding opening their mouth due to ear pain
  • Yellow-brown colored ear wax, or brown or black-colored discharge 

How to Treat Bleeding in Dog's Ears 

If you see blood in your dog's ear, call your veterinarian as soon as possible to book an exam. Bleeding may be happening for many potential reasons, some of which can be serious. Your vet will accurately diagnose and treat the issue, or refer you to the appropriate veterinary specialist near Orlando. 

If your dog's ear is bleeding due to a small external cut, there 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 can the vet help treat my dog's bloody ears?

The vet will thoroughly examine your pet and conduct diagnostic tests to identify the problem. After diagnosing your dog's condition, a treatment plan will be offered to address the concern. Possible treatment options 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

How long will it take for my dog's ears to heal?

If bleeding ears in dogs are managed quickly, the recovery time and prognosis for treatment are relatively quick.

If your dog has an ongoing condition, your vet will develop a long-term treatment plan to address their condition. To prevent complications, it is important to promptly treat each chronic ear infection that may be causing the ear bleeding.

When is blood in a dog's ears 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? Contact our vets in Orlando right away to book an examination.

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