Sarah writes: My 9 year old golden retriever just went through Auricular Hematoma surgery as described above, http://www.mypetsdoctor.com/auricular-hematoma-in-dog-cat, with the incision in the middle and the sutures throughout the whole ear. These were left in for a little over two weeks. This was an expensive surgery and we did all the things our veterinarian told us to do. Four days after the sutures were removed his hematoma is back! Same ear, same place! I cannot afford another surgery, so we have him on high doses of corticosteroids hoping this may treat it. Did my veterinarian make a mistake in surgery? What could be the reason of the quick return?
As I mentioned in the Auricular Hematoma post there are as many ways to perform this surgery as there are veterinarians doing them. I had the same experience many years ago and changed my protocol to leave the sutures and the staples in longer, usually 3-4 weeks. Unfortunately, that makes it more difficult to remove both the sutures and the staples, but that is preferable to repeating surgery. Fortunately, my patient did not require additional surgery, probably because the initial hematoma was small.
Why does this happen? It is probably a combination of a patient who heals slowly combined with a little longer bleeding time (taking longer for blood to clot) than the average dog. Without preoperative clotting tests one would not have an index of suspicion about excessive bleeding time, so we don’t run those tests preoperatively except in certain breeds predisposed to bleeding problems.
The odds are in this pet’s favor that he will heal just fine on medical treatment.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.