Cholesteatoma after lateral bulla osteotomy in two brachycephalic dogs

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Schuenemann RM, Oechtering G.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 2012;48:261-268.

This report describes a French bulldog and a pug that presented to the authors’ hospital following total ear canal ablation (TECA) and lateral bulla osteotomy (LBO), with signs of recurring otitis media and difficulty opening their mouths. The bulldog also had unilateral facial paralysis and sensory deficits of the trigeminal nerve on the ipsilateral side. Computed tomography and MRI scans suggested cholesteatoma in the bulldog, but showed only slight enlargement of the bulla in the pug. Histopathologic examination of samples yielded cholesteatoma in both cases. The authors suspect that development of the cholesteatomas was linked to the TECA/LBO surgery in both cases. Cholesteatomas may occur more frequently than currently thought. Even if only slight changes of the bulla wall are detected on CT, early-stage cholesteatoma should be considered. The narrow anatomic conditions in brachycephalic dogs possibly predispose such breeds to develop cholesteatoma after middle ear surgery because complete removal of all inflammatory and epithelial tissue can be more difficult than in other breeds. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report of an aural cholesteatoma causing sensory deficits of the trigeminal nerve.