I have a much beloved, very active 5 1/2 yo Lab. 3 months ago, she had an aural hematoma that was hot and tender to the touch, so we had the vet drain it, put her in a hood to prevent head shaking (miserable), and prescribe a course of steroids.
The same vet cultured her ears multiple times and couldn’t find an infectious reason for the head shaking.
Same vet doesn’t like the “quilting” procedure that I’ve seen used in other retrievers with limited success.
My question? The hematoma keeps recurring. Sometimes more aggressively, sometimes less so. No heat, no tenderness, no sign of discomfort from the dog…
Said Lab is a farm dog who will jump in a pond, a water trough or a puddle at any opportunity.
Do I 1.) ignore it since it isn’t bothering her 2.) investigate the causes of the head shaking, assuming it’s not from laying down in any body of water larger than a teacup 3.) drain it myself (I have large bore needles she would absolutely hold still and allow me to do it if there were treats on offer) or 4.) take her back to the vet for something that’s bothering me and not her?
Additional data point - having her on steroids is difficult. She gained a lot of weight, and we had to revise the feeding, watering and walking schedule.
When she is lean and fit, she is 110#. Post steroid treatment last time, she’s 115#. NOT fat at 110#, just a big da&* dog. But not losing the weight from the last go round with steroids either.