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Ear Bleeding in Dogs

While blood in your dog's ears can be a sign of a simple issue like a bug bite, other issues can be serious and time-sensitive. Here, our Lacey emergency vets discuss the causes and symptoms of bleeding in your dog's ears and when it is necessary to seek veterinary care.

Help! My Dog is Bleeding From Their Ear

There can be several different causes behind the occurrence of dog ear bleeding. This can include discharge from within the dog's ear, puffy tissues, or internal bleeding.

When bleeding originates in the puffy tissues, pockets of fluid can occur. This is usually due to previous trauma and occurs more frequently in long-eared dogs.

What are the causes of ear bleeding in dogs?

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 external source.
  • Cancer: either benign or malignant.
  • Parasites: such as ticks, fleas, mites, or others.
  • Infections: bacterial or fungal infections.

Some cases of dog ear bleeding can have systematic symptoms and conditions, 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 (blood blisters).

What are the symptoms of bleeding ears in dogs?

Your dog may experience other symptoms along with bleeding in their ears. These symptoms can 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

Treating a Dog With Bleeding Ears

The first thing you should do if you notice blood in your dog's ear is to call your primary vet to schedule an examination. 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, including:

  • 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.

What steps will the vet take to treat my dog's bleeding ear?

Your vet will perform a complete examination and diagnostics to determine the issue. 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 flush the ear canal for buildup or foreign body removal.
  • Treatments specific to certain diseases

How long is the recovery time for bleeding ears in dogs?

Above all else, the recovery time for your dog's bleeding ears will vary depending on the underlying cause. Like many illnesses, injuries, and conditions, the faster you begin treatment, the faster your dog will get better.

If your dog has a condition that will cause chronic ear bleeding, your vet will determine an ongoing treatment plan to help manage their symptoms. If the ear bleeding is caused by chronic ear infections, then you will need to ensure you treat each one promptly to avoid complications.

Should I bring my dog to an emergency veterinary clinic?

No matter what the assumed cause is behind your dog's ear bleeding, you should always bring them to your primary care vet for an examination. Certain signs and symptoms indicate that you should bring your pet to an emergency animal hospital in Lacey right away, such as:

  • Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes
  • Other signs that your dog may need emergency care (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.

Have you spotted blood in your dog's ears or other concerning signs? Please contact our vets right away for 24-hour emergency veterinarian services in Lacey.

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Olympia Pet Emergency, you can always access our full complement of emergency services without an appointment. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

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Contact (360) 455-5155