Ear Cancer: Adenocarcinoma in Dogs

Tumors associated with the ear can start right from the outer area and extend all the way to the ear drum including the pinnae and ear canal.
Both benign and malignant forms of tumors can develop in the ear canals. Ceruminous gland adenocarcinomas are commonly seen compared to benign tumors.
Adenocarcinoma is a cancerous form which has the ability to invade surrounding tissues, bone marrow. This is the tumor of the sweat glands and can be caused

by a history of ear infections, injury, trauma, infections and inflammations. Dogs affected are over 7 years of age.


The exact cause of the cancerous form is unknown but other factors such as chronic ear problems, injury, foreign body, obstruction, infections, diseases and conditions, inflammations if left untreated, are known to cause Adenocarcinoma.

Clinical Signs & Symptoms

Common signs are:
› Recurrent Otic (ear) discharge
› Disorientation
› Inflammation of the ear
› Increased earwax
› Strong ear odor
› Discomfort
› Tissue growth in the ear
› Nodular masses
› Bleeding


Veterinarians will require a complete history of your dog which includes medical history, vaccination records, existing health concerns, current and previous medications, onset of symptoms, diet and exercise routine and any information which can help in establishing a correct diagnosis. Diagnosis is done with a combination of tests. These include routine lab examinations and special tests. They are:

› Physical examination – this involves a complete ear (otoscopic) examination, looking for any foreign body, mites infestation, internal injury, swelling, ruptures, bacterial or fungal infections and abscess
› Complete Blood Count (CBC)
› Biochemical profile
› X-rays (of the ear and skull)
› Ear tissue biopsy
› CT Scan


The choice of treatment is surgery. Veterinarians will remove parts or whole tissue (which includes ear and ear canal).


Untreated chronic ear problems, known diseases, ear conditions, ear infections can lead to cancerous growth. Early detection and prompt diagnosis followed by professional treatment will reduce the risk of tumors.

Home Care

Home care should aim at improving the condition. Surgery is the preferred treatment of choice. Post surgery healing can take a few weeks to a couple of months. If you observe any behavioral changes, or if the condition does not improve, please contact your veterinarian.

Prognosis is always good post surgery. Most pets are treated on an outpatient basis.

› It is mandatory to provide a stress-free environment for your cat. Keep water and food bowls within reach. Avoid physical activity. Keep your dogs away from any noise and commotions.
› Do NOT travel with your dog.
› Do not allow your pet to roam outdoors, Accidents, mishaps and unseen situations can arise as the pet is momentarily deaf and will not be able to hear caution sounds
› Always keep sharp objects covered and fragile objects away from pets to avoid the risk of injury and accidents.
› Routine and regular checkups to access the progress (for fluid drainage, ear cleaning, medications)
› Exercise caution when dealing with pets. Daily cleaning and vacuuming, disposal of materials such as bandages, cotton swabs used for abscess or by ear secretions. Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly. Using disinfectants and proper hygiene protocols are strongly advised.
› Place a bell on the collar so that you can know where your dog is.

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