What is Total Ear Ablation Surgery?
surgical procedure that Maverick underwent is called a Total
Ear Canal Ablation (TECA) and Bulla Osteotomy. Simply
stated, this is the total removal of the ear canal.
Maverick endured years of untreated, painful ear
infections. These chronic infections caused his ear canal
to thicken and narrow as the tissue calcified and turned to
bone. Repeated attempts to flush the infection from the ear
canal and properly clean and medicate it were totally
ineffective. A closer examination while under anesthesia
confirmed his ear drum had ruptured, exposing his middle ear
to infection as well. The lower part of the canal, called
the horizontal canal, was totally closed. Surgical removal
was the only option.
days prior to the surgery Maverick was given a daily dose of
a Chinese herb called Yunnan Paiyao. Yunnan Paiyao is
sometimes referred to as a miracle drug for wounds, pain and
hemorrhage. It heals oozing
wounds and damaged blood vessels while expelling pus and
counteracting toxins. An additional dose was administered
the morning of the surgery and was used again in powder form
during the surgery.
Maverick received a physical
examination prior to admission and his senior comprehensive
panel blood work and chest radiographs were reviewed as
Martin DeAngelis, Diplomate ACVS (American College of
Veterinary Surgeons), of Village Animal Clinic in Ardsley,
New York, performed the surgery on December 9th. Village Animal
Clinic is one of our “rescue-friendly” veterinarians that
assist with the medical care for our Goldens by providing
discounted fees for their services.
While under anesthesia, the ear flap
and head were shaved, and a slim probe with a camera
attached was inserted into the ear canal. The ear canal was
flushed with a Betadine solution to remove as much pus and
infected material as possible. This was done to reduce the
possibility of contamination of the normal healthy tissue.
incision was made along the side of his head exposing the
vertical ear canal (which begins at the base of the ear
flap), horizontal ear canal, the ruptured ear drum and the
middle ear (bulla). The ear canal was removed in one intact
piece. The bulla was opened up and the infected tissue was
scraped away (Bulla Osteotomy). An external drain was
inserted into the surgical incision to ensure that any
accumulated fluids would be expelled from his body and not
drain into his neck. Intravenous pain medication and
antibiotics were administered over the course of the next
three days. Suture removal is normally scheduled for three
weeks post surgery.
illustration depicts a total ear ablation. The thatched
area shows the portion that was surgically removed.
spent three days in the hospital. Two of our volunteers
visited him daily and were pleasantly surprised to see
Maverick up and walking around the day after the surgery.
His head was not bandaged (he was wearing an e-collar), he
was bright-eyed and very alert. Dr Zuckerman, his attending
veterinarian, said that Maverick had built up such a high
tolerance to the pain of the chronic infections that he did
not require the full dose of pain medication and was not
groggy as a result. He was given a homeopathic remedy to
help his body shed the after effects of the anesthesia and
another to help with the incision healing.
Maverick’s ear flap was not damaged by
any of the infections so it was not necessary to remove the
flap. Once his fur grows in, there will be no cosmetic
impact to his appearance unless the ear flap is lifted.
The area under the flap where the opening to the ear canal
would have been will be a closed smooth area.
has lost his hearing in that ear but the odds are that he
had already become deaf due to the calcification and the
ruptured ear drum.
is ever easy. A week after the surgery Maverick developed an
infection at the top of the surgical site. Dr. Zuckerman
inserted a gauze “wick” soaked in diluted Betadine into the
pocket to draw the pus out and enable healthy tissue to
form. Maverick stayed at a temporary foster home in
Westchester so that he could be medically managed on a daily
basis. Warm compresses were applied several times a day to
the entire surgical site and the area was cleaned with
diluted green tea. The gauze wick was changed daily and day
by day the pocket was noticeably smaller, there was less pus
and the new tissue being formed was pink and healthy. On day
five he was cleared to go home with instructions for daily
Betadine flushes to the outside of the ear only.
often chronic ear infections can be caused by underlying
allergies or endocrine diseases. Dr. Zuckerman recommended
that the Spectrum Lab Allergy test be done to identify the
environmental and food allergens that Maverick is sensitive
to. This was approved by the GRRI Board and the
results have been given to Maverick's family.
Maverick’s prognosis is excellent. His ongoing ear issues
have been resolved. His one remaining healthy ear will
require diligent ear cleaning maintenance. As soon as
his allergy test results are back his diet will be adjusted
would like to thank the Animal Control Officer who responded
to the call and seized this wonderful dog; to the shelter
who provided his interim care and called GRRI; to the
volunteers who performed his initial evaluation and
transport; to both of his foster homes; to the GRRI Board of
Directors for approving the cost for the care that was
needed; to Dr. Susan Bahr of Hackettstown Animal Hospital
for providing his pre-surgical care; to Dr. Martin DeAngelis
and Dr. Joseph Zuckerman of Village Animal Clinic for his
surgery and post-surgical care.
thanks goes to Dr. DeAngelis for approving such a deep
rescue discount toward the surgical bill.
This article has been reviewed for accuracy
by Dr. Joseph Zuckerman of Village Animal Clinic