otic tumorA 2 year-old male castrated mixed breed dog presented for scratching his left ear and shaking his head for 1 week duration. During physical examination, the OtoPet-USA Video VetScope was used to evaluate both ears. The VetScope probe was inserted into the both ears and a mass along with a hyperemic ear canal was visualized in the left ear. The owner was able to see the mass on the screen and a picture was taken for the records. 

Otic neoplasia is uncommon in dogs. Benign tumors of the ear include inflammatory polyps, histiocytomas, papillomas, basal cell tumors, ceruminous gland adenomas, plasma cell tumors, and sebaceous gland adenomas. The most common malignant tumors of the ear in dogs are squamous cell carcinoma, ceruminous gland adenocarcinoma, and undifferentiated carcinoma. Melanoma, mast cell tumor, fibrosarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma, spindle cell tumors and lymphoma are less common tumors that may be found in dogs ears. Otitis may be a predisposing factor to the development of otic tumors. Chronic otitis can cause hyperplasia of the ear canal, which may eventually induce dysplastic changes. Tumors of the ear canal can also predispose an animal to otitis.

Cytology was performed during the exam and 1+ cocci was found. Surgical excision is the treatment of choice for most otic tumors. The patient was sent home on a topical antibacterial and steroid otic medication. A surgical excision and biopsy under general anesthesia was scheduled.

One week later, the patient was placed under general anesthesia and the mass was debulked and removed using video visualization and alligator forceps inserted through the OtoPet-USA Video VetScope probe. The tissue was sent for histopathology. The patient was sent home on Rimadyl. The otitis was resolved as evidenced by cytology at the time of removal.

The biopsy results came back as a papilloma. In mild cases of papillomas, observation without treatment is appropriate, as they may spontaneously resolve over 6-10 weeks in most cases. However, removal may be recommend if it is occluding the ear canal or causing a problem such as irritation in this case. In addition, it is hypothesized that crushing and removal may help to stimulate an immune response. In older dogs, papillomas may indicate immunosuppression and full blood work and a physical examination are both indicated. Azithromycin can be helpful to speed regression in some cases.

Following the surgical removal, the owners elected to monitor for reoccurrence of the growth. In the case of regrowth, a more radical surgery would be considered if the growth again occluded the ear canal.

If you have an interesting case that you would like to submit with pictures, please contact Dr. Jessica Melman Bhatia at jessvet3@aol.com.