To study the underlying morphological changes of presbycusis, cochlea and cochlear nuclei from twenty three dogs, ranging in age from 3 days to 17 years, were examined histologically. Dogs used in this study were house dogs kept in an environment similar to that of humans. Four types of histological changes reported in human presbycusis, that is, loss of spiral ganglion cells, atrophy of the organ of Corti, atrophy of the stria vascularis, and thickening of the basilar membrane were observed in dogs. The changes were prominent at the base of the cochlea. Less intense changes were also observed in the apex of the cochlea. The degree of these changes appeared to progress as a function of age. All four types of changes with varied intensity were found in all dogs over 12 years old. In addition to the changes in the cochlea, cochlear nuclei changes including nerve cell loss, astrogliosis and ubiquitin deposition were found in dogs over 10 years old. Hearing dysfunction was accompanied by the morphological changes, though the degree of the hearing dysfunction did not always parallel to that of morphological changes. The morphological changes seen in the cochlea and cochlear nuclei of dogs were qualitatively and quantitatively similar to those reported in aged humans, indicating that otopathologic changes in the inner ear may be due to aging plus exposure to certain environmental ototoxic factors.
1998 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science