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Bleeding in Dog's Ears: Causes & Treatment

Our Concord veterinarians are available to offer information about canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV), a highly contagious respiratory illness that affects dogs globally. It is crucial to understand the symptoms and causes of parainfluenza in dogs and how to treat it.

My Dog's Ear is Bleeding

There are several reasons a dog's ear may bleed. These may include internal bleeding, infection, discharge from within a dog's ear, or puffy tissues. 

Bleeding that originates in the puffy tissues in the ear typically happens due to pockets of fluid that develop as a result of previous trauma. This is more common in long-eared dogs. 

Why are my dog's ears bleeding?

Though many different factors can contribute to this symptom, some of the most common reasons your dog's ears may bleed include:

  • Parasitic Infection - Such as mites, ticks, fleas, or others 
  • Trauma - Either self-inflicted or due to an external source 
  • Fungal, bacterial, or ear infection 

Some cases of bleeding in a dog's ears may be a symptom or a cause of systemic conditions. For example, your dog may shake or scratch 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 the symptoms of bleeding ears in dogs?

In addition to bleeding, your dog may also experience the following symptoms, including:

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

How to Treat Bleeding in a Dog's Ears 

If you see blood in your dog's ear, call your veterinarian as soon as possible to schedule an examination. Many potential causes may be causing the bleeding, some of which can be serious. The only way to have your dog properly treated is with a diagnosis and treatment your vet recommends. 

If your dog's ear is bleeding due to a small external cut, there are a few steps you can take to stop the bleeding:

Step 1: Bring your dog to a calm, safe area. 

Step 2: Have your dog's first aid kit handy, including these items:

  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Bandages
  • Cotton balls, gauze, or absorbent pads 
  • Styptic powder (flour or cornstarch will also work)

Step 3: Apply the styptic powder to your dog's wound and press the absorbent pads using 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 was in a fight with another dog or animal, or if the wound is quite deep, you should contact your primary vet for emergency care or visit your nearest emergency animal hospital.

What will the vet do for bloody dog ears?

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

Like many illnesses, injuries, and conditions, the faster a dog’s bloody ears are treated, the faster your dog will get better.

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

Are bloody dog ears considered an emergency?

No matter what the assumed cause is behind your dog's ear bleeding, you should always bring them to the vet for an examination. 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 (including symptoms 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. Please visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Are you worried that your dog is showing signs of parainfluenza? Is it time to schedule your furry friend's annual vaccinations? Contact our veterinarians in Concord to arrange an appointment for your dog.

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