Q: I have a pitbull/bulldog mix and he is about 5-6 years old. He has recently developed a bubble of something on the flap of his ear. It doesn’t hurt him, but this is definitely not normal. Can you help us?
A: The small bubble you are seeing on your dog’s ear is most likely an aural hematoma, which is basically a pocket of blood. This usually occurs when a dog shakes his head excessively, often due to an ear infection or other irritation. After repeated shaking, a blood vessel will burst and blood will leak out, forming the bubble you are seeing.
These usually require veterinary attention. The usual way to treat them is with a surgical drainage procedure followed by a splint on the ear, so it is usually involves fairly extensive treatment (that can be costly).
An alternative treatment involves having your veterinarian drain the blood pocket from the ear and inject some steroids. This will work instead of surgery in about half of the cases. Of course, it is important to treat any underlying ear infection at the same time, or your dog will keep shaking his head. Some veterinarians will wrap the ear in a head bandage after doing the drainage procedure to lessen the chances the hematoma will reoccur.
Good luck, but make sure you bring him to the vet, otherwise the ear could be permanently affected.