Things You Need To Know About  Ear Canal Tumor Removal

Ear Canal Tumor Removal Surgery

Did you know dogs were the first species to be domesticated? From helping their owners with hunting and offering companionship to safeguarding their properties, dogs and all other pets have now become a significant part of our lives. Yet, have you ever thought about their health? When you visit a veterinarian for a regular medical checkup of your pet, do you know what to expect? 

Most pet owners don't pay the required attention to their pets they deserve. Like humans, these cuties also require regular medical checkups and timely treatment. However, this is an endless discussion. So, let's get back to our topic. This article will discuss the abnormal growth of ear canal tumor in pets. Keep reading to learn more about this disease's symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. 

Significant Causes of Ear Tumors Development 

The exact cause of the pet ear tumor development is not confirmed yet. But experts have given many theories that explain the abnormal growth of ear canal tumors. According to which the most common causes of tumors in cats and dogs are included: 

  • Chronic or long-term inflammation of the ear canal. 
  • Pets with a medical history of chronic otitis externa have an increased risk of ear tumors.
  • Genetic or hereditary.

Dog breeds such as German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels are at increased risk of developing these tumors. 

Clinical Signs of Ear Canal Tumors

Usually, tumors may appear as pink, white, or purple nodular masses in the ear canal. If the tumors are benign, they may grow to a specific size and not be problematic. Meanwhile, if the pets get malignant tumors in the ear canals, these tumors grow abnormally, ulcerate, and bleed. Which eventually results in recurrent or chronic ear infections. If not treated on time, such cancerous tumors in cat ear canal may cause severe infection and pain. According to the experts, the most common cat ear tumor symptoms are: 

  • Painful, itchy, and inflamed ear. 
  • Persistent odorous discharge (waxy, pus-filled, or bloody). 
  • Head shaking. 
  • Ear scratching. 

An ear hematoma (blood blister) usually appears if pets shake or Scratch hard enough. 
Suppose the tumors are developed in the middle or inner ear. In that case, the pet may feel the head tilty, loss of coordination and balance, circling, nystagmus (darting of the eyes back and forth), Horner's syndrome, loss of hearing, facial paralysis (with facial drooping, salivation, and difficulty eating), and other neurologic signs.

Understanding the Types of Ear Canal Tumors in Pets

It can be a distressing experience for any pet owner to see his pet suffering from an ear canal tumor. Understanding the different types of ear canal tumors, their differences, and their impact on treatment can provide valuable information to pave the way for pet health.

Benign and Malignant Tumors

In principle, tumors can be classified as benign or malignant.

Benign Tumors

These noncancerous growths usually grow slowly and are localized without spreading to other body parts. They are not usually life-threatening unless their size or location causes discomfort or affects normal function. For example, benign tumors in the ear canal may cause symptoms such as ear discomfort, itching, redness, or hearing loss, but they do not usually cause serious illness.

Malignant Tumors 

These types of cancer tend to grow quickly and spread to other body parts, a process called metastasis. Malignant dog ear canal tumor can cause severe symptoms such as persistent pain, ear discharge, facial paralysis, and hearing loss. Early detection and treatment are essential to prevent the spread of cancer and improve the animal's prognosis.

Common Types of Ear Canal Tumors

There are several types of ear canal tumors in pets, classified according to the type of cells from which they arise.

Ceruminous Gland Adenoma: This benign tumor develops from the corneal glands responsible for producing earwax. Although these tumors can cause ear discomfort and hearing changes, they usually grow slowly and are not aggressive.

Ceruminous Gland Adenocarcinoma: This is a malignant form of corneal tumor. It grows more aggressively than its benign counterpart and may invade surrounding tissue or metastasize to other body parts.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This malignant tumor originates in the epidermal cells of the ear canal. Squamous cell carcinomas are usually aggressive, cause extensive local tissue destruction, and may spread to peripheral lymph nodes and distant sites.

Basal Cell Tumors: These tumors, which can be benign or malignant, develop from basal cells in the skin's deep part. In the ear canal, they can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, and discharge.

The Influence of The Type of Tumor on The Treatment

The type of tumor has a significant influence on the treatment approach.

Surgical removal is often the treatment of choice for benign tumors, such as flash adenomas. The prognosis after ear canal tumor removal surgery is usually excellent if the tumor has not become too large or if it is not invasive.

Treatment of malignant tumors, such as adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, usually requires a more aggressive approach. This often involves surgical removal of the tumor, followed by radiation or chemotherapy to destroy the remaining cancer cells.

The exact treatment protocol depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the tumor, the animal's overall health, and possible side effects of the treatment.

Knowing the types of ear canal tumors in pets can provide valuable information for discussing diagnosis and treatment options for your pet with your veterinarian. Remember, early detection and intervention is the key to the best outcome for your furry friend. Regular veterinary checkups can help detect health problems as early as possible.

Treatment of Ear Tumors in Pets 

We cannot ignore the importance of accurate diagnoses. Because without having complete insights into the diseases, a doctor cannot take one step forward; the same is true when treating ear canal tumors in cats and dogs. 

Presurgical Diagnostic Testing

Following steps are performed to diagnose the tumors. 

Otoscopic Exam: To decide whether pet ear surgery is indicated and which type of surgical procedure should be performed, veterinarians perform an otoscopic examination to evaluate the vertical and horizontal ear canals. Video otoscopy also plays a vital role in diagnosing and finalizing surgeries. Nevertheless, dogs and cats with chronic diseases must be sedated or anesthetized while performing this exam. 

Neurologic Exam: veterinarians should never compromise on the neurologic exam of pet patients. If such deficits are present in the affected dogs and cats, they must be documented. The most common neurologic deficits accompanying ear disease are facial nerve paralysis, vestibular disease (peripheral or central), Horner's syndrome, and deafness.

Complete Blood Count Test: Veterinarians must complete a blood count /chemistry screen and thyroxine test before pet ear surgery. 

Skull Radiography: CT Scan, MRI, and skull radiography help to evaluate the tympanic bulla and external ear canals. 

Surgical Options

Surgical excision to treat dog and cat ear canal removal of tumors is the treatment of choice. This treatment is quite helpful in the removal of benign tumors. 

Surgical removal of ear canal tumors may be accomplished through:

In addition to this, veterinarian surgeons also perform radiation therapy to slow down the tumor growth and alleviate the pain. In case when surgical excision of the tumor fails to prevent further development completely, radiation therapy is performed. However, if biopsy results declare the tumor dangerous and aggressive, surgeons recommend chemotherapy.

It has been observed that malignant ear tumors tend to be more aggressive in cats than in dogs. Dogs can survive longer than three years after undergoing aggressive dog ear canal removal surgeries. On the other hand, after the removal of the tumor in cats ear canal, they live only about one year. 

Final Word! 

The prognosis of ear canal tumors in pets depends on the following factors: 

  • Age of the cats and dogs
  • Health condition.
  • Location of cancer.
  • Type of tumor.

However, the prognosis is worse when the tumor has spread to the inner parts of the ear. Furthermore, the ear tumor surgery cost is among the most frequently asked questions. As per the industry experts, it may cost approximately $1,450.00. Post-surgery care is also very important for pets. Its the responsibility of the pet owners to make every possible effort and fulfill the precautions and medications prescribed by the veterinarians. Which will ultimately result in a healthier life for the pets.