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Things You Need To Know About  Ear Canal Tumor Removal

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 have now become a major part of our lives. Have you ever thought about their health? When you visit a veterinarian for the regular medical checkup of your dogs, do you know what to expect? The answers may be different. 

The majority of the pet owners don't pay the required attention to their dogs or cats that 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 tumors in dogs and cats. Keep reading to learn more about symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of this disease. 

What Are Tumors Of The Ear Canal?

Abnormal growth of the tumors can develop at any part in the external, middle, or inner ear canal. Ear canal tumors could be of two types,  benign or malignant. Benign tumors don't spread. On the other hand, malignant, also known as cancerous tumors, can spread to nearby tissues and other body areas. Tumors developed in the external ear canal are more common than in the inner or middle ear. The most common external ear canal tumors in dogs are ceruminous gland adenomas (benign) and adenocarcinomas (malignant). Other tumors may include sebaceous gland adenomas, inflammatory polyps, papillomas, and more.

Meanwhile, cats are at a high risk of developing external ear canal tumors, including ceruminous gland adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and nasopharyngeal polyps. In addition to this, middle-aged dogs and cats are at a high risk of developing benign ear tumors. In contrast, malignant tumors are most commonly diagnosed in dogs and cats, i.e., more than 11 years of age. 

Major Causes of Ear Tumors Development 

The exact cause of the ear tumors developments in both dogs and cats 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.

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

Clinical Signs Of Ear Canal Tumors

In most cases, tumors may appear as pink, white, or purple nodular masses in the ear canal. If the tumors are benign, they may grow to a certain 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 result in recurrent or chronic ear infections. If not treated on time, such cancerous tumors may cause severe infection and pain for both cats and dogs. According to the experts, the most common clinical signs of pets with ear canal tumors 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 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

Treatment of Ear Tumors in Dogs & Cats

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 the ear canal tumors in cats and dogs. 

Presurgical Diagnostic Testing

Following steps are performed to diagnose the tumors. 

Otoscopic exam: To decide whether 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 an important role in diagnosing and finalizing the 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:  Before performing any surgery, veterinarians must carry out a complete blood count /chemistry screen and thyroxine test. 

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

Surgical Options

Surgical excision to treat ear canal 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:

  • Lateral Ear Canal Resection
  • Total Ear Canal Ablation
  • Lateral Bulla Osteotomy

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 growth completely, radiation therapy is being 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 dogs. After undergoing aggressive surgeries, dogs can survive longer than three years. On the other hand, cats are only about one year. 

Final Word! 

The prognosis of ear canal tumors in dogs and cats depends on the following factors: 

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

However, the prognosis is worse when the tumor has spread to the inner parts of the ear. Furthermore, the Ear Canal Tumor Removal treatment cost is one of 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.