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Refractory ear infection in dogs and cats may cause a declining quality of life in your pet. Due to irreversible damage to the ear canal, we may recommend a total ear canal ablation surgery.

How is this diagnosed?

Malodorous discharge refractory to medical treatment is one of the common signs of a chronic ear infections. Your pet may show the following signs:

  • Head shaking
  • Circling
  • Head tilt
  • Pawing at the affected ear

Your primary care veterinarian may recommend or do a series of test which may include otoscopic examination, culture and sensitivity of the ear discharge and skull radiographs. Upon presentation to our veterinary surgeons, your pet will be getting thorough physical examination with or without a video-otosocpic examination. We will likely recommend a CT scan of the ear/skull for further diagnostics and surgical planning.

Surgery of the Ear Canal

A total ear canal ablation surgery is most commonly performed in pets with chronic infection or a cancer of the ear canal. During the surgery, the whole ear canal is removed. The ear flap (outer portion of the ear aka pinna) is not removed during the surgery. We also open the middle ear and a bulla osteotomy is performed. This is a very delicate surgery and we have found that the results are better with an experienced surgeon performing the surgery. Post surgery, once the surgical wound is healed, pets will have a better quality of life (if surgery is performed for infection) and can return to a normal life.

Possible complications: Facial nerve paralysis, Horner’s syndrome, bleeding and serum formation.

Contact Us

Pet Specialists of Austin


3901 Guadalupe St Austin, TX 78751

Clinic Hours

Emergency Clinic Hours: 24/7 Specialty Service Hours: Mon-Fri* 8 am - 6 pm *Select services