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Central Animal Hospital on Pinellas Point

TECA BO Surgery for Chronic Ear Infections

Basset Hound in Garden

This is a complex surgical procedure that is designed to treat severe infections of the ear canal, along with also being used to treat some cancers affecting the ears. It is usually only recommended when other treatments have proven unsuccessful.

The procedure itself involves the removal of the diseased and infected ear canal, while leaving the hearing organ itself (sometimes called the inner ear) in place. To better understand the surgery, it’s helpful to also understand the anatomy of a dog’s ear, which is also quite complex.

A dog’s ear is a complex structure that contains several key areas of physiology. These are:

The Pinna: This refers to the visible part of your dog’s ear that you can see and stroke. The appearance of the pinna varies depending on the size of your dog, the breed, and whether they are actively trying to listen, since most dogs can swivel their pinna to better detect sounds.

Ear Canal: This is the trumpet-shaped tube that is filled with air and that is responsible for enabling sound waves to be transmitted from the pinna to the eardrum.

Tympanic Bulla: This is known as the middle ear and is home to the eardrum. It also acts as an amplifying chamber for sound.

Eardrum: The eardrum is a thin sheet of tissue that captures sound waves and transmits them to the inner ear. It does so through very small bones.

Hearing Organ: This is the key component to enable your dog to experience sound. It receives noises as vibrations and converts them into electrical signals that are sent to the brain for identification.

In TECA BO surgery, removal of the infected ear canal can be extremely successful at helping to treat chronic ear infections where initial treatments such as antibiotics, flushing, and anti-inflammatories haven’t been effective.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Ear Infections

Animals are very good at masking signs of illness or injury. However, if your dog is suffering from an ear infection, they will eventually start to experience some effects which will manifest in symptoms including:

  • Shaking their head  

  • Rubbing their ears against furniture or floors  

  • Scratching at their ears  

  • Discharge from the ears, which may smell foul  

  • Redness of the ear  

  • The ear may feel hot to the touch  

  • Swelling and inflammation of the ears  

  • Not wanting their ears to be touched/being aggressive if you try to touch their ears or head

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s advisable to speak to your vet to have your dog’s ears checked.

Will My Dog still Be Able to Hear After TECA BO surgery?

TECA BO surgery will not involve the removal of the hearing organ. However, by removing the ear canal, your veterinary surgeon will also reduce your pet’s hearing sensitivity. While they will still be able to hear sounds, they may manifest as more muffled than before – similar to as if your dog were underwater. Although this may sound concerning, many dogs who suffer from chronic ear infections will have already experienced some hearing loss as a result of their condition.

If your dog experiences a loss of hearing following their procedure, you should make some adaptations to the way that you live with them so that they can remain safe and continue to enjoy a good quality of life. This may involve speaking louder to give them instructions, using more eye contact or touching them to get their attention, and keeping them on the leash when outside so that they aren’t reliant on recall. 

For more information about TECA BO surgery, or to schedule an appointment to discuss your dog’s hearing, please contact our veterinary team at Central Animal Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida at (727) 521-3518.