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Ear Hematomas in French Bulldogs

Ear Hematomas in French Bulldogs

French bulldogs are at risk of certain conditions when it comes to their ears. A portion of this breed is especially prone to deafness. Any dog who isn’t born deaf may become so through neglect and untreated ear infections.

Ear infections can cause a dog to vigorously scratch or shake their heads, causing the ear flaps to slap against the skull, leading to hematoma. A hematoma is a mass of blood confined within a particular organ or tissue. It is often referred to as a blood blister, and the most common type of hematoma in dogs generally is the one that affects the ear flap. It is called an aural or ear hematoma. 

As with any infection, prompt diagnosis is crucial to getting the immediate health care needed. Therefore, it is essential to know what this infection is, the symptoms, the cause, the treatment, and how to prevent it from reoccurring or occurring at all in your French bulldog. 

Causes of Ear Hematomas In French Bulldogs 

Ear hematomas will occur when a blood vessel bursts in the ear and bleeds into the space between the ear cartilage and the skin. This is caused by injuries sustained that leave damage on the dog's ears. 

As previously mentioned, blood vessels can break when dogs shake their head or scratch too much. But a dog does not suddenly begin to scratch or shake vigorously without a cause. Some common causes of ear irritation in French bulldogs include: 

  • Allergies: Just like human beings, Frenchies can suffer from irritable skin conditions due to their allergies. Any Frenchie that suffers from allergies be it environmental, dust mites, or food, is already predisposed to ear infections. This is usually due to the microscopic inflammation that allergies cause in the skin. Their skin will often erupt and burst into itchy, painful hives, rashes, bumps, and sores. The scratching of these hives may then result in ear hematomas. 
  • Ear Mites: Ear mites are a common parasite, and although they are more likely to occur in cats, they are pretty standard in dogs. The human eye can rarely see them; detection under a microscope is necessary to confirm their presence. Ear mites live on the skin of the ear canal and feed off ear wax and essential skin oils. An ear mite infection will cause a dog's ear to itch, which would result in excessive head shaking and scratching, which leads to ear hematomas.  
  • Ear Infection: French bulldogs have a small and narrow ear canal, unlike most dogs. This feature restricts them from being able to clean their ears naturally. And so, the ear canal often remains wet and warm: this is the perfect environment and conditions for bacteria and yeast to grow in. This build-up of bacteria is often the reason for ear infections in French bulldogs, leading to ear irritation and progressing to ear hematomas. 

There are many other reasons why a dog comes down with ear hematomas. Therefore, both the ear hematoma and the underlying cause of irritation must be treated at once. If the ear hematoma is treated alone without addressing the underlying cause, chances are the ear hematoma will return and maybe worse the second time. 

Symptoms And Diagnosis

If your French bulldog has ear hematomas, you will notice a fluid-filled swelling in one or two of his ears. His ear flap will feel like a water balloon because it may be partially or entirely swollen with blood. 

The swelling will vary in size, but there will be swelling. In some cases, the node might be so large that it blocks the opening of the ear canal; in other cases, it may only involve the tip of the ear. The extra weight of the ear flap will be uncomfortable for the Frenchie, and if immediate treatment is not administered, it may lead to a permanent change in the shape of the ears. You will also notice head shaking and ear scratching.

Your vet can diagnose this condition during a physical exam. But it is also essential to analyze the underlying conditions that lead to excessive head shaking or ear scratching. The vet may also inspect the ear canal and swab it for samples. 

These samples are then examined under the microscope for signs of parasite infection. If the underlying cause is a food allergy, it cannot be discovered by a microscope. Food trials and allergy testing have to be in order.  

Treatment 

The most effective treatment for ear hematomas is considered to be surgery. The procedure will require anesthesia, and while the dog is under, an incision will be made on the affected ear. This is to drain the fluid that has been accumulated; the incision will remain open to allow complete drainage of the ear. 

Sometimes, a vet will place a pressure wrap for seven days on the ear of the Frenchie to promote further drainage and prevent re-accumulation of fluid in the ear. After this procedure, the vet will prescribe pain medication, antibiotics, and other medicines to treat the underlying cause of irritation. 

The procedure has a high success rate, and it is relatively safe. However, there are some risks associated with general anesthesia in French bulldogs due to their breathing problems. But make sure your vet informs you of everything this procedure will entail. 

Postprocedural care

After the procedure, you should ensure that your Frenchie's ear canal is cleaned, dried, and treated with the prescribed and appropriate medication. You should also clean the incision and massage out any small pockets of fluid that may accumulate after the procedure. 

You must continue treating the underlying condition, whatever it may be, and follow it up with consistent check-ups. If the underlying condition is not addressed, the ear hematomas are more likely to reoccur. If ear hematomas have occurred in one ear, the other ear should be constantly monitored for any signs of irritation. 

It would be emotionally stressful for you and plain uncomfortable for your Frenchie if the ear hematomas reoccur and you go through the process of surgery again. This is excluding the financial implications of the procedure and everything involved. The best option would be to aim for prevention. 

Prevention 

Dogs can get ear infections quickly with something stuck in their ear canal or ear mites. Although French Bulldogs are not especially prone to ear hematomas in itself, they are prone to ear infections which may or may not ultimately lead to deafness. 

It might help if you know how your dog’s ears should look when they are healthy so that you can quickly identify any ear problems. The insides of a healthy ear should be pink, clean, and odor-free. If your Frenchie's ears are swollen, red, smelly, or have a kind of discharge, you should immediately contact your vet. 

To prevent ear problems in your French bulldog, you have to schedule and make regular appointment exams with your vet so that your dog's ears can be constantly checked by a professional who knows what to look for. 

It would be best to clean your dog's ear with a cotton ball dampened with an ear cleaner recommended by your vet. No matter how dirty your Frenchie's ear may seem, do not use too much; this is because excess liquid left in the ear can become a source of problems. Ask your vet for tips on how to properly and how often you should clean your dog’s ears. Refrain from inserting anything in your Frenchie’s ear canal.

If you notice anything at all in your dog's ears, do not hesitate to contact your vet and follow every instruction given. As always, early detection is crucial to early recovery. 

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