Q. Lump has recently appeared in middle of Tara's ear. It is soft and squashy, what is it?

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A. Lumps and bumps are common in dogs and can be caused by a variety of things. If the lump you are seeing is located on the ear flap (called the pinna), it may also be something called a hematoma. Hematomas are swellings of blood that collect under the skin due to broken blood vessels. The vessels are most often broken by a dog shaking its head repeatedly or scratching at the ear. Care should be made to prevent your dog from pawing at the spot or shaking her head as it can make the problem worse. Hematomas are usually drained or surgically removed by your vet depending on severity, and may also be treated with an antibiotic to prevent infection.

Other lumps and bumps can include allergic reactions (usually small, red, itchy bumps), abscesses (pockets of infection stuck under the skin), or even tumors and cysts filled with material or fluids. It is best to have the ear examined by your local vet as the only 100% way to determine what the lump is, is through aspiration and taking a sample of the materials inside. Your vet can then provide treatment options ranging from draining and antibiotics, to surgical removal of more serious growths.

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