Total Ear Canal Ablation – TECA
a surgical method for eliminating chronic ear problems that are generally caused by infection or yeast buildup, and is also used for removal of ear canal tumors.
Chronic ear disease in dogs is a disease process caused by the additive affects of many factors which can include: allergy, infection (yeast and bacterial), altered immune function, skin excretions and the conformation and carriage of the dog’s ears.
These inciting factors can lead to chronic infection in both the middle and outer ear. Chronic irritation and infection lead to thickening and inflammation of the lining of the ear canal, reducing or eliminating air flow and the ability to hear.
While most ear infections respond initially to systemic antibiotic therapy, the chronic changes result in amelioration only and not a cure. The condition is highly painful and characterized by head shaking, scratching at the ears, a strong odor from the ears, and difficulty hearing. If left untreated, there will eventually be highly visible thickening of the ear canal.
The condition can affect only one ear or both ears, and is most common in Cocker Spaniels, Labradors and Rottweilers, but can affect canines of all breeds and occasionally felines. The symptoms exhibited by animals with aural (ear) tumors are very similar and the surgical treatment is similar.
- Symptoms of outer ear disease:
- Odor and/or discharge
- Scratching or rubbing of ears, shaking/tilting of the head
- Redness or swelling
- Changes in behavior, irritability, and head shy
- Symptoms of inner ear disease include the symptoms for outer ear disease as well as:
- Possible facial paralysis on the infected side which may include difficulty swallowing, droopy eyelids and lip muscles
- Loss of balance
- Downward head tilt
- Possible circling
- chronic proliferative otitis
The TECA procedure is essentially the removal of the cartilage canal and lining of the middle ear. This prevents the possibility of further infection and allows the aural inflammation to heal, which effectively eliminates the pain associated with the condition. In the cases of tumor removal, if the tumor is benign the problem is usually eliminated, so long as it has not spread to the chest. Some very large tumors may require removal of the ear flap to completely extract the tumor.
Complications for this procedure should be rare but can include fistula formation, recurrence of infection, which can be cured with a second procedure, and facial nerve paralysis, the signs of which can be treated medically. In the rare instances of complications, the benefits of the surgery still greatly outweigh the complications, as the chronic debilitating infection has been cured.
- Your pet will need to stay overnight one night and will need to be picked up during our regular business hours the day after surgery. There will be staff overnight to monitor your animal.
- When you get your pet home, place your pet in a cool/warm (season dependent), quiet and dark room. If you leave your pet alone, he/she will sleep and be comfortable. You can increase your pet’s anxiety by doting. Your pet will have adequate medication for pain so you do not need to worry about discomfort.
- Ophthalmic ointment will be dispensed. Place the ointment on the lower lid of the eye and then gently close the lids; do this 3-4 times daily to lubricate the cornea.
- Cephalexin or another antibiotic will be dispensed. Please give according to label directions until gone.
- A transdermal pain patch will be sutured on to your pet and will provide pain relief for three days following surgery. On the fourth day after surgery, you may remove the patch by clipping the sutures with a nail clipper and peeling it off like a band-aid. Please dispose of the patch by flushing down the toilet. (The transdermal pain patch used for pain relief can cause constipation. Dr. Dew will ask that you feed your pet a certain amount of tuna in oil for 4 days following surgery to prevent constipation. The tuna in oil is to be given in addition to your pet’s regular feedings.)
- Your pet will also be sent home with Previcox®. Previcox is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that is used for the control of pain and inflammation. Please give according to label directions until gone.
Food & Water:
- When you get your pet home, offer him/her a small amount of water. If your pet drinks it and does not vomit, then offer twice the original amount.
- Two hours later if no vomiting has occurred, offer ¼ of the amount of food in a normal meal.
- If your pet eats and no vomiting occurs in a 2-hour time period, then you may resume normal feeding(s).
- Please call Dr. Dew’s or your veterinarian’s office if your pet does not drink within the first 6 hours of being home or if vomiting occurs.
- Your pet should be rechecked and have the drain removed by Dr. Dew 7 days following surgery.
- The sutures will need to be removed 14 days following surgery. Please call (866) 838-4282 to schedule these appointments.
- Limit to short leash walks 3-4 times daily for 3 weeks.
- Facial nerve palsy can be noted after surgery. This is normally transient, resolving in 3-14 days following surgery.
- The e-collar should be worn for 3 weeks following surgery.
- You may warm compress the incisions and drains for 2-3 minutes, 3 times daily; this will help keep your pet clean and dry.
- There will be some blood tinged discharge from the drain. Therefore your pet should be confined to an area that is easily cleaned.
- The chance of complications will be drastically reduced by following discharge instructions and maintaining the e-collar.
- Histopathology results are generally received 7-14 days following surgery. Once the results are received, Dr. Dew will contact you and your veterinarian.