Cholesteatoma (Ear Cysts) in Dogs: A Closer Look What To Know About Canine Ear Cysts

Cholesteatoma (Ear Cysts) in Dogs: A Closer Look

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Cholesteatoma is a rare condition in dogs that involves the development of a benign tumor in the middle ear. We will examine what you need to know about Cholesteatoma in this article.

 An uncommon but deadly illness called cholesteatoma can afflict both people and animals, including dogs. It is a particular kind of benign tumor that develops in the middle ear and manifests a variety of symptoms. For affected pets to have the greatest outcome, cholesteatoma must be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible since, if ignored, the condition can result in catastrophic problems. 

To better educate pet owners about cholesteatoma in dogs and how to manage it, this article will go into further detail on the condition's signs, causes, diagnosis, and available treatments. 

What are the causes of cholesteatoma in dogs?

The exact cause of canine cholesteatoma is unknown. However, it is thought to be linked to a number of factors, including:

  • Chronic ear infections: Dogs who have recurring ear infections are more likely to develop cholesteatoma.

  • Trauma to the ear: Trauma, such as head injuries or foreign object damage, can also raise the risk of developing cholesteatoma.

  • Anatomical abnormalities: Dogs with anatomical abnormalities, such as narrow ear canals, are more likely to develop cholesteatoma.

  • Breed predisposition: Certain breeds, such as Cocker Spaniels, are more predisposed to developing cholesteatoma.

  • Allergic reactions: Ear diseases cholesteatoma in dogs is frequently a symptom of a more serious condition, such as allergies or ear infections.


Some typical cholesteatoma in dogs symptoms are:

  • Ear discharge: A continuous and foul-smelling discharge from the ear is a typical sign of cholesteatoma in dogs.

  • Foul odor: Foul Bad odor arising from the ear is another typical sign of canine cholesteatoma.

  • Hearing loss: The tumor's growth may result in hearing loss in the ear that is being impacted.

  • Face nerve paralysis: In extreme circumstances, the tumor's pressure on the facial nerve might cause paralysis of the facial nerve.


A comprehensive veterinary examination, which may involve several diagnostic tests, is necessary to diagnose cysts in dogs ears. A veterinarian may use the following procedures to identify cholesteatoma in canines:

  • Physical examination: The veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination, looking for any indications of inflammation, discharge, or abnormal growth in the ears.

  • Otoscopy: In this process, the veterinarian examines the ear canal for evidence of the presence of a  cyst inside the ear using a specialized tool called an otoscope.

  • Imaging tests: To gain a closer look into the middle ear and confirm the presence of ear diseases cholesteatoma, X-rays or CT scans may be indicated.

  • Biopsy: A biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis of cholesteatoma. A tiny tissue sample from the afflicted region is taken and examined under a microscope.

Treatment and Management Options

Dog ear cyst treatment is determined by the size and severity of the cyst. Here are some typical steps in the treatment of ear cysts in dogs:

  • Veterinarian consultation: If you feel your dog has an ear cyst, you must seek veterinary attention immediately. Your veterinarian can do a complete checkup, identify the disease, and offer the best treatment strategy for your pet. 

  • Cleaning the Ear: If the cyst is minor, your veterinarian may simply wipe the ear to remove any debris or discharge. They may also prescribe an ear cleaner to use at home to avoid recurring infections. 

  • Medication: Your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics or corticosteroids like Prednisone or Dexamethasone to treat the problem if the ear cyst is connected to an underlying infection or inflammation. 

  • Surgical removal: If the ear cyst is big or intrusive, surgery may be required. This often entails a technique called a "lateral ear resection," which entails removing the problematic tissue and cysts from the ear canal. Total ear canal ablation (TECA) may be required, depending on the cyst's size and location.

  • Ongoing management: To stop cysts from growing in the future, it's critical to address any underlying problems. This may entail routine ear cleaning, allergy control, and effective ear infection therapy.

Prevention Tips

Addressing any underlying issues is critical to preventing future cholesteatoma development. Here are some preventative measures for cholesteatoma in dogs:

  • Regular ear cleaning: This is necessary to avoid ear infections, which can increase the risk of cholesteatoma. Use a gentle ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian and follow their cleaning schedule for your dog's ears.

  • Addressing allergies: Chronic ear infections brought on by allergies can raise the risk of cholesteatoma. Work with your veterinarian to identify any allergies your dog may have and create a management plan for them.

  • Preventing trauma: Keep your dog's ears safe by refraining from rough play and excessive ear-scratching.

  • Routine examinations: Frequent veterinary examinations can assist in identifying any early indications of cholesteatoma or ear infections, allowing for early intervention and treatment.

  • Breed factors: Some breeds, like Cocker Spaniels, are more prone to cholesteatoma. Make sure to keep proper ear hygiene up to date and watch out for any symptoms of ear infection if you own a breed that is prone to cholesteatoma.

By taking these precautions, you can lessen the possibility that your dog will develop ear diseases cholesteatoma and improve its overall ear health.

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