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Date:   22 July, 2011  

 Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Case recorded:
22 July, 2011 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129


Subject: Dog ear hard mass
Date: Thursday, July 21, 2011, 3:04 PM

Hi Dr Sing,

I found you online. My dog is a 14 yr old shih tzu. He started with infections in his left ear for 6 months, seen 3 different vets, put on almost all kinds of antibiotics available but did not help. Till sometime last year, i felt a hard lump. Then i went to another vet who did a minor surgery to laser off some masses on the surface (was able to see cauliflower-like masses in the ear hole). He said due to my dog's age, heart problems and failing kidneys he is not going to cut deeper into the ear. About 3 months later, i can see those cauliflower-like masses in the hole again. And the ear canal starts to feel hard. The vet put him on chemo (0.03ml, very small dose) but his kidney suffered. The last chemo was administered in April this year. I have since decided not to go for the chemo. Currently, the lump is growing, probably towards the middle ear? It is visible, growing down towards the jaws. The smelly pus and bloody discharge is present for almost 1.5 years. He does not appear to be in pain to me, because he is able to sleep lying on it. May i ask what would be your treatment since he is not in a condition for surgery, and i'll not take the risk. Thank you so much!




Thank you for your email. It was a pure coincidence that yesterday I had operated on a 2-year-old dwarf hamster with similar cauliflower-like masses inside and pus discharging from her right ear canal. A vet had given an antibiotic ear ointment for some time. It was ineffective. The right ear continued to emit an over-powering smell like rotten meat.

Anaesthesia was very high risk as this hamster is nearing the end of her life span of 2.5 years. The lady owner accepted the risk as medical treatment was ineffective. The hamster is OK and went home to be nursed by the owner yesterday. This surgery is called total canal ablation and I believe it is very rarely is done in old dwarf hamsters (compared to old dogs) as anaesthesia is very high risk.

I just googled "ear canal ablation" for you and came out with this URL:

In the googled page, the ear canal ablation surgery is described in
1. A website at:

2. Another website (my surgery at Toa Payoh Vets) at:
=1024&bih=545. The URL of my website is at:

The 11-year-old dog survived the surgery. He lived for another 4 months with no pain and died in his sleep.

In your dog's chronic otitis externa with no cure from other treatments, surgical removal of the ear canal is the only option. This will be my advice to dog owners with similar problems as the condition and pain just get worse over time.

However, since your dog is very old and has heart disease. You will need to make a decision as to whether you will take the high risk of your dog dying on the operating table. If the dog survives and the surgery is without complications due to belated decisions for surgery and old age's poor healing, the dog will be pain-free and infection-free normally and may live for another 6 years to the age of 20 years (from the optimistic point of view).

In conclusion, I have no other alternative effective treatment to propose to you other than ear canal ablation surgery.

Best wishes.
DR SING'S GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS "ear canal ablation" dated July 22, 2011 at 4.43 am in Singapore

Search Results

Ear canal ablation and bulla osteotomy - Cached
Below is an illustration demonstrating total ear canal ablation; the thatched area shows the part that is surgically removed; after the ear canal has been ...
YouTube - Advanced Vetcare Total Ear Canal Ablation‏ 1 min - 29 Jan 2007 - Uploaded by advancedvetcare
An overview of total ear canal ablation in the dog. Posted by Advanced Veterinary Care.
More videos for ear canal ablation
Ear Surgery In Dogs And Cats - Cached
Total ear canal ablation is almost always successful while less extensive types of surgery often fail. The secret of this success is in choosing surgical ...Vertical Ear Canal Ablation - 031208ASingapore Toa Payoh
- Cached 14 Jul 2010 Vertical Ear Canal Ablation surgery in the dog - Part 2. Chronic thrombocytopenic purpura? ...

The URL is as follows:

Chronic severe otitis externa. Old 11-year-old dog. Toa Payoh Vets

Ear infection for several years. The husband decided on euthanasia but the wife opposed it.

An ear canal ablation surgery gave this dog a pain-free quality of life with his owner


Old Dog. Singapore. Calcified ear. Vertical canal ablation. Toa Payoh Vets Silkie Terrier 11 years old. Calcified vertical ear canal hard as a rock removed. Toa Payoh Vets.

Ear Canal Ablation Surgery at Toa Payoh Vets

No more ear pain after convalescence.

The dog looks good 6 weeks after surgery and lived for another 4 months.

The owner phoned me that he died in his sleep. I was glad that he had enjoyed a great pain-free 4 months of time with his owner.

Many Singapore dog owners are unaware that there is an ear surgery option to resolve their dog's persistent ear infection problems treated by several groomers and vets without success.

Anaesthetic risks and economics are the main factors in this type of surgery 

To make an appointment: e-mail
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
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