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Clinical features, treatment, and outcome of aural hematomas in horses: 7 cases (2008–2019)

Sophie Boorman BVetMed1, Lindsey H. Boone DVM, PhD1, and Amelia White DVM, MS1
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  • 1 JT Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.
  • | 2 Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize the clinical features, treatment, and outcome of aural hematomas in horses.

ANIMALS

7 horses with 1 or 2 aural hematomas (8 ears in total) treated at a veterinary teaching hospital in 2008 through 2019.

PROCEDURES

Data retrieved from medical records included signalment, pertinent historical information, clinical signs, diagnostic procedures (including dermatologic assessment), and treatments. Case outcome was determined from documentation in the medical record or via telephone communication with owners or referring veterinarians.

RESULTS

3 horses were presented after recurrence of aural hematoma following treatment by the referring veterinarian. Four horses had a history of allergic skin disease prior to aural hematoma development. Most (6/7) horses were unilaterally affected. Diagnostic assessments included otoscopic evaluation (3 horses), ultrasonography (3 horses), cytologic examination of ear canal swab samples (3 horses), and histologic examination of a pinnal biopsy specimen (1 horse). Of the 8 pinnae, 2 were treated by nonsurgical needle drainage (1 with concurrent corticosteroid injection) and the remaining 6 underwent surgical incision and placement of compressive sutures. Follow-up information was available for 6 horses, and all affected pinnae were fibrotic with 4 horses having permanent drooping of the pinna. One horse developed a hematoma in the contralateral pinna 1 year after hospital discharge.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Equine aural hematoma is a rare condition. The main principle of treatment is drainage, and treatment options commonly used in small animal practice can be successfully applied in horses. Permanent changes in the cosmetic appearance of the pinna are likely to develop owing to secondary fibrosis.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize the clinical features, treatment, and outcome of aural hematomas in horses.

ANIMALS

7 horses with 1 or 2 aural hematomas (8 ears in total) treated at a veterinary teaching hospital in 2008 through 2019.

PROCEDURES

Data retrieved from medical records included signalment, pertinent historical information, clinical signs, diagnostic procedures (including dermatologic assessment), and treatments. Case outcome was determined from documentation in the medical record or via telephone communication with owners or referring veterinarians.

RESULTS

3 horses were presented after recurrence of aural hematoma following treatment by the referring veterinarian. Four horses had a history of allergic skin disease prior to aural hematoma development. Most (6/7) horses were unilaterally affected. Diagnostic assessments included otoscopic evaluation (3 horses), ultrasonography (3 horses), cytologic examination of ear canal swab samples (3 horses), and histologic examination of a pinnal biopsy specimen (1 horse). Of the 8 pinnae, 2 were treated by nonsurgical needle drainage (1 with concurrent corticosteroid injection) and the remaining 6 underwent surgical incision and placement of compressive sutures. Follow-up information was available for 6 horses, and all affected pinnae were fibrotic with 4 horses having permanent drooping of the pinna. One horse developed a hematoma in the contralateral pinna 1 year after hospital discharge.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Equine aural hematoma is a rare condition. The main principle of treatment is drainage, and treatment options commonly used in small animal practice can be successfully applied in horses. Permanent changes in the cosmetic appearance of the pinna are likely to develop owing to secondary fibrosis.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Boone (lhb0021@auburn.edu).