Ear cancer is not a very common disease but still, as a dog owner it’s always better to be aware of this things because it may take some time to develop but if you don’t take care of this before its too late then it will turn out to be a serious problem. Keep in mind that older dogs are most likely to get affected by ear cancer than the younger dogs. The ceruminous gland adenocarcinoma is the primary malignant tumor of the sweat glands which can be found in the external auditory canal. This is the most common malignant tumor of the ear canal.
What is an ear tumor?
If you have a dog who has an ear tumor then sometimes your dog may not show any external signs or symptoms at first. But when it develops over time it will become bigger and then the dog will show the symptoms & also you would be able see it. Remember most of the tumors do not show abnormalities characteristic of cancer. Sometimes there the vet may find a tumor during diagnosis which does not require any treatment unless it causes any type of discomfort or problem.
Now the main thing is that most of the vet wants to remove the ear tumors because these tumors are seen to cause infection, damage the growth or pain. You need to keep in mind that these ear tumors can grow from the skin which sometimes appears as a large mass in the ear. These tumors are known to become black, white, pink, white or purple you may notice that these tumors can be full of oil, pus or blood.
Now always remember that the Beagle, Golden Retriever, and the Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear tumors & they are more likely to have some other ear infections as well. If you have any of these breeds then it should be extra careful because they have a higher risk than any other dog breeds.
Ear canal tumors can grow in any area of the ear but most commonly these tumors are seen to affect in the muscles. Connective tissues, an inner and middle layer of the skin. Most of the times the external ear canal and the pinna rea are mote appealing than the internal ones. If you see any symptoms of ear tumor then it’s better not to wait to take the dog to the vet.
What is ear cancer?
The ear cancers are more likely to grow and develop from any lining. Most of the common begin tumors which causes ear cancer in dogs are inflammatory polyps, basal cell tumors, ceruminous gland adenomas, and papillomas. Now you might be wondering what causes the ear canal tumors but the answer is still unknown. However, the malignant tumor of the ear canal in older dogs can cause severe damage.
Symptoms of ear cancer in dogs?
You may notice the external symptoms of ear cancer very easily. The ear tumors tend to be seen as plaques located in the ear canals. The tumors often appear as white, pink or purplish clour. However keep in mind that, most of the times you may not able to see it. Your vet might want to take the MRI and CT scan in the middle of the internal ear if the canal doesn’t seem to be visible from the outside. Sometimes you may notice a bad smell coming from the ear or you may also notice that the blood coming from the ear its because these tumors are more likely to cause bleeding which can be ulcerated. Also, keep in mind that if the condition is very serious then your dog may start to itch or tilt the head or continue to shake the head or ear scratching.
Symptoms of ear tumors in dogs
Dogs who have ear tumors are more likely to stumble the head, shaking the head or you may notice a swelling area over the ear of your dog. Sometimes these tumors can be very serious which can cause your dog to whine or crying.
Symptoms of ear cancer in dogs
There may be a white, pink or purplish area which is an ear tumor & it will appear as firm nodules in the ear canal.
The bleeding can start to show
There will be an extreme odor from the ear
The dog may itch the area of the ear
Your dog may cry because of having extreme pain
Causes of ear cancer in dogs?
Many people often want to know what exactly causes ear cancer on dogs, but the answer is specific and straightforward. However, the recurrent and the long term 9inflamation of the ear canal is mainly the the cause of this problem or defect which normally lead to abnormal growth of tissue & over the time it can turn into a tumor.
Now here is an important thing you need to understand, there is some specific dog breed which normally has the ear canal that is flattened by pressure & some other have heavy or log ear (like Golder Retriever) which keep the ear canal covered. Now dogs who has covered ear canals are prone to have bacterial and yeast infections in the ear which can often turn into inflammation and thickening of tissues. Some parasites can cause inflammation and irritation in the ear.
Cause part 2
Experts have noticed that the long term inflammation and the recurrent of the ear canal can turn into ear tumors.
Some dogs who have covered ear canal can get affected by the yeast and bacterial infections in the year. Which often can lead to inflammation and thickening of the tissues.
The irritation& the inflammation of the ear can be caused by the ear mites.
The ear wax glands could be thickening if the external ear canal is inflamed.
There are some ear tumors which often look like polyp & it may attach and take place as a narrow shape or salk to the main structure go through the ear canal. However, keep in mind that the malignant tumors (ceruminous gland adenocarcinomas) can be seen more than the engine form of adenomas. Malignant or Banging tumors which normally grow up from the earwax glands from the external ear canal may affect the middle-aged or older dogs. Another important thing is that there is a higher risk of for ear tumors in dogs if the dog has also suffered from chronic otitis (ear infection). Remember that the malignant tumors are more aggressive and also highly risky which can cause metastasize (spread) on the lymph nodes, lungs, or salivary glands. Benign tumors normally develop and compress tissues but sometimes they may not invade tissues or spread to other places. However, sometimes the other cancers may develop in the ear canal or the pinna ( ear flaps) of the ears (squamous cell, and begins tumors like inflammatory polyps) which are rarely seen.
Diagnosis of ear cancer in dogs
When it comes to diagnosing the ear problems for the dog you need to know that only physical examination or the medical observation is not enough to evaluate the whole condition of your dog. The vet may want to go for further diagnosis procedure to make sure whether the dog is having a malignant or benign tumor. The tumors in the ear may appear with deep otoscopic tests which may need that the should be sedated. Depending on the situation the vet will require to take an MRI or CT scan to see the extent of the tumor. If the vet finds out that the dog is having a malignant tumor then he will require to take biopsies tests.
Depending on the condition of the ear tumors the vet may ask you to go for the surgical excision or laser surgery. However, remember that the laser treatment is really useful and known to have a great impact on treating the tumors. If your dog is having benign tumors then your vet will suggest to completely remove it. Also if the dog is having the malignant tumors then the surgery is normally the best treatment option to cure it which normally takes to remove the ear canal & cleaning out the inner ear. However, this surgery is also referred to as a total ear canal ablation (TECA). Now you need to know that most of the dogs are seen to live an additional two years or more after the aggressive surgical procedure is done. If the dog is having too much pain then the vet may ask to take radiation therapy which is useful to relieve the pain. It can also help to slow down the growth of the tumors. Also if the surgical excision is not fully complete then the radiation therapy may help in that case. Also, keep in mind that the prognosis can be decreased dramatically if the conservative surgery is done by the vet.
Depending on the condition if the vet finds out any aggressive tumor or any part of metastasis then he may suggest chemotherapy. However, the prognosis often turns out to be very less effective if there is any involvement of the deep parts of the ear. When the vet deals with the ear cancer of the dog they strongly they need a strong commitment from the owner because treatment often needs to have regular check-up & also very expensive. The vet then may wish to offer a more thorough outlook for other treatment options. Now remember depending on the condition of the dog, it may be required to continue the treatment for longer periods of time & also you must be present during those time because it’s really very serious problem to deal with.
Recovery of the ear cancers in dogs.
When your dog is finally is done with the surgery, there comes great responsibility for you as an owner. The first and the most important thing you should do is to clean the operation site clean & dry. Also, many dogs tend to rub or scratch the ear which will stop the healing process so you need to prevent this from happening. You should take proper care as your vet recommends preventing any kind of infection, swelling, bleeding. If your dog is very stubborn and loves to scratch all the time then you can take advantage of some special collars which will surely stop the dog to stop scratching on the head.
If the skin around the ear can’t heal properly for a long period of time then you should pay special attention there, also don’t forget to tell the vet. You vet most likely suggest some topical medications. When the vet is done with the surgery he will give you all the post-surgical care and the follow-up appointments. You must continue all the medications that your vet prescribes.
Now here comes an important part, depending on the condition of cancer the surgery can only cure the disease. But sometimes, the surgery can only help to have a temporary diminution of the severity of this disease which has a possibility of cancer recurring. The thing is when cancer is treated fully it takes a lot of care for the pet to recover completely.
Cost of treatment
Now many people often ask what is the cost of the treatment for this disease?
The answer is
At first, your vet may want to see the tumors with a deep otoscopic test (in that case the Anesthesia may be suggested) which costs 40 US dollar. After that, the vet will need to make sure whether the tumor is malignant or banging & it will require biopsy tests which will cost in between 160 USD to 180. When the vet is done with the tests he may suggest surgery (if the dog is having malignant) & it may cost in between 1400 USD to 2500 USD. If your dog is suffering from too much pain then the vet may want to take radiation therapy to slow down the tumor & it is an expensive treatment option which will cost 2000 to 6000 USD. Depending on the condition & situation of the dog the vet can suggest chemotherapy which can cost 6000 to 10000 USD.
Matthew Frank was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He was a reputed author of Pet Therapy Dogs and Pet Dog Cat.
Matthew is a regular author of this blog who is studying Veterinary medicine at Purdue University.