My Dog Has a Swollen Ear
Your dog's ears are a very sensitive part of his anatomy. Not only do they provide him with a constant source of valuable auditory information, but they also serve as a way to dissipate body heat, detect air currents and temperature changes, and convey changes in attitude and mood. Because your dog's ears are so sensitive, if they are swollen or irritated they will certainly become a preoccupation to him. As a result, it is critical that a swollen ear be accurately diagnosed and correctly treated to avoid symptom progression.
What to Look For
Start by observing the way your dog carries the affected ear when he is still. Try to evaluate whether the ear seems enlarged throughout its length or just at the base, tip, front, or back. Next, carefully grasp the base of the healthy ear and run the length of it through your hand, between the palm of your hand and your thumb. Note its thickness, weight, and flexibility. Now repeat the process on the swollen ear, noting any differences. Finally, check inside both ears, looking for evidence of irritation or infection.
What to Do
Answering these questions should help you figure out what to do next:
If left alone, the pressure inside the ear may eventually cause the bleeding to stop, but the blood inside the ear will take time to congeal, and only some of it will be resorbed. It will eventually heal, but the result will be a thickened, heavy, wrinkled “cauliflower” ear.
A better solution is to seek your veterinarian's help. There is a surgical procedure that will correct the problem with much more attractive results.
Text © 2007 by Robert D. "Jake" Tedaldi, D.V.M.