Ear Ablation in Dog Ears - The Last Resort for Chronic Ear Infections

By Tess Thompson

The treatment that is most effective for ear infections in dogs depends upon the severity of the condition. Home remedies for dog ear mites and regular grooming are effective methods to treat and prevent mild ear infections. Chronic and recurrent ear infections that do not respond to treatment may even require surgical removal of part or all of the ear. Vertical Canal Ablation and Lateral Wall Resection are designed to modify the anatomy of the dog’s ear to facilitate easy exit of fluids, much like as it is done in the human ear.

Total Ear Canal Ablation involves removal of the vertical and horizontal ear canal, the ear drum and part of the middle ear. It is the ultimate treatment when nothing else works. It removes the infected ear and allows fluid to be drained from the middle ear. The process involves removing the entire amplification system of the body, and if this surgery is performed on both ears, the dog becomes deaf. To understand ear ablation, it is necessary to know the significant role that the structure of a dog ear plays in ear infections.

The anatomy of a dog ear is one of the major reasons behind chronic inflammation of the external ear. Unlike the human ear that has a short, straight and horizontal passage leading to the ear drum, the dog ear has an L-shaped passage. The vertical ear canal is shaped like a funnel and takes a 90 degree horizontal turn to end up at the ear drum. Any fluid that gets trapped in a dog’s ear cannot come out easily. The typical shape also makes it difficult for any medication to reach the ear drum.

The retained fluid and external parasites like dog ear mites can lead to an infection. A long standing infection triggers excess production of wax and other infectious fluids making the ear a welcome residence for ear mites and yeast. The resultant inflammation causes thickening of the skin that lines the external ear creating further problems in treatment.

Chronic ear infections often lead to injury in the middle ear cavity and can thicken the ear canal to such an extent that it becomes similar to a bone. Malignant tumors in the ear that have not metastasized through the cartilage or into the middle ear cavity should be surgically treated.

Prognosis of Total Ear Canal Ablation is encouraging as long as the procedure is performed by an experienced veterinarian surgeon. This helps in avoiding any complications during this delicate procedure. Like all surgeries, the Total Ear Canal Ablation procedure needs to be followed up so that any post-surgical complications can be addressed quickly. After an ear ablation, total or partial, your dog may live long, but as you may expect, he may never be the same as before.

Your pet is your responsibility and when you bring a pet home, it is incumbent upon you to take proper care of its health. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you think about it, ear infections are initiated by poor grooming. Dogs and cats require help from their owners. Regular and proper ear cleaning can save you a lot of expense and your pets from a great deal of discomfort.


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