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ChristineLVT
ChristineLVT, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3307
Experience:  Licensed veterinary technician (B.S. Mercy College), 10 yrs in animal medicine and training
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My brother has a yellow lab who has a pus pocket on ...

Customer Question

My brother has a yellow lab who has a pus pocket on the underside of his ear flap. He has had this before in which they lanced and drained it and let it remain open until it healed up. My question is where does it come from, how can it be prevented, and can this be lanced at home since he can''t afford to take him to the vet this time. Also, does this have something to do with ear mites, although he hasn''t been scratching and doesn''t have any of the usual signs of ear mites.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  ChristineLVT replied 9 years ago.

This is caused by either the excessive shaking of the head, scratching of the ears or rubbing it against carpet/furniture/etc. Fixing the reason behind the itching is the only thing to permanently get rid of this hematoma. Keeping the dog on a regular once weekly ear cleaning schedule is a good idea afterwards, especially in a labrador that is prone to ear infections.

So first of all, proper cleaning out and treatment of the ear is necessary.

I would definitely clean the ears by using an ear cleaner specifically made for dogs, available from any pet supply store or online catalog or vet. Make sure the canal is filled, then massage the base of the ear well, then allow your dog to shake the excess debris out. Wipe the exterior gunk off. Wash the ears daily, but gently.

You are eventually going to need an antibiotic or anti-fungal from the vet, depending on what the culprit is causing this. The vet will put a sample under the microscope to determine this. The day of your vet exam, don't clean the ears that morning, so some debris will be built up for a good sample.

Until then, continue cleaning daily and do your best to discourage scratching and further irritating the ears. I've included a link here (scroll down) to see how to properly clean the ears in case needed:

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1591&articleid=273

An e-collar may be necessary.

When the hematoma is not bothered any longer it may subside on its own. If not or wanting to make sure no permanent disfigurement occurs, it will need a sterile drain placed to disinfect and drain out the bacteria and fluid while healing, which cannot be done at home. If you poke it at home, it's more important than ever to get an antibiotic from your vet. If you haven't poked it, it will have an easier time of healing without infection. You could try squirting some chlorhexiderm or betadine solution diluted with warm water into this hematoma if it does open to disinfect on your own, but results may be variable.

Hope your brother's dog's ear is better in no time. Best of luck,

Christine

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to ChristineLVT's Post: When he had the same thing lanced before they had him clean with peroxide and apply an ointment to the area. What kind of ointment would be appropriate? Could this just be bacitracin or an antifungal ointment or both. I am a nurse and could lance this area in a sterile environment but not familar with dog medications.
Expert:  ChristineLVT replied 9 years ago.
Peroxide's not a good choice for continual cleaning as it does not promote quick healing. An ointment is only good short term and should be then cleaned off at least 3 times a day as this keeps the opened area covered and helps trap bacteria in the opening. Lancing can only help if a drain is placed and continual flushing involved, and lancing, since increasing the chances of infection, often requires an oral antibiotic to help prevent systemic spreading. If you still choose to lance it, you need to clean the wound several times a day with betadine or chlorhex, and keep it open while healing. If you choose to cover it with ointment, not recommended, I would use something like neosporin or other antibiotic ointment (fungal ointment not necessary). The hematoma itself is not infected when closed, but serous fluid from the broken vessels. The infection within the ear that caused the broken vessels from the dog's actions is what may require treatment eventually.