Tumors of the Zymbal’s gland

Tumors of the Zymbal’s gland occur infrequently. They are observed at the base of the ear in older rats and can be benign or malignant.1

Clinical Signs
The following clinical signs may be observed:

  • Abscess at or near mass
  • A unilateral firm mass seen or felt ventral to the ear (side of face).
  • A papillomatous growth seen within the ear itself.
  • An ulceration of the skin overlying the mass.
  • Bleeding from ear.
  • Occasional repetitive shaking of the head.
  • End stage head tilt.
  • Accompanying signs of malocclusion (may be severe).
  • Distortion of jaw.

Zymbal’s gland carcinomas are very invasive. This typically makes tumor removal impossible, and the accompanying necrosis does not make debulking the tumor an option.

Euthanasia should be considered before condition adversely affects quality of life.

If infection is present, treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics recommended.2


  1. Merck Veterinary Manual
  2. Health Guide: Zymbal’s Gland Tumor

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