If you've never heard of an ear canal ablation before, it's probably a good thing - as it means that your pup's ear canals are doing okay. That being said, some doggos aren't so lucky and will need this procedure. A total ear canal ablation is a surgical procedure that involves removing the middle ear, also known as the tympanic bulla.
Typically, vets will do this procedure on dogs when they have ruptured eardrums, lots of ear infections, cancer, or perforation in their ear canals. It's a delicate surgery, and unfortunately, it's unlikely that your dog will be able to hear after having a total ear canal ablation, also called a TECA.
Regardless of how well the surgery is conducted, it's likely that most dogs will suffer from some degree of hearing loss, some more than others. Are you wondering if a TECA is necessary for your dog? Are you curious about the signs your dog might be giving you to let you know they might need a TECA? Read on for more information.
Signs Your Dog Might Need an Ear Canal Ablation
There are plenty of signs that your dog might be giving you to let you know that they're in need of a TECA. Unfortunately, a TECA will likely result in hearing loss, although it can help cure issues like perforated eardrums, cancer, tumors, ruptured eardrums, and chronic ear infections.
If your dog frequently has ear infections, faces issues like crust or scabs on the outer ear, has hair loss around their ears, or is obviously suffering from hearing loss, it might be worth taking your pup to the vet to talk about hearing issues, ear problems, and the potential of a TECA procedure for your dog.
Your pup might also face issues like blood in the ear, yellow or brown discharge from their ears, excessive head shaking and ear tilting, loss of coordination, and other serious issues.
Historic Reasons for a TECA
Dogs receive total ear canal ablation procedures every day for many different reasons, but some of the most historic, and likely reasons include a certain set of causes.
For example, dogs who typically suffer from chronic ear infections are ideal candidates for TECA procedures. This condition, also called Chronic Otitis, is a common disease in pups and, if left untreated, can do serious damage to your dog.
Typically, undergoing TECA will help remove the facets that contribute to chronic ear infections. Other causes for a TECA procedure typically revolve around infection, tumors, ruptured ear drums, perforated ear canals, and cancer.
The Science Behind a TECA
The TECA procedure in dogs is a delicate, skilled procedure that should only be performed by experts in their fields. A total canal ablation procedure will typically include the removal of the distended ear canal entirely. The vet will then open up the middle ear, also called the bulla, and remove infected tissue from inside the ear.
Then, the vet will insert drains into the surgical site to allow the infection to drain out before closing the wound. The dog's incision will be closed and the dog will be left to heal.
The reason that dogs typically lose their hearing following a TECA is because they have removed a vital part of the ear. While the removal of the middle ear will result in an impossibility for the ear to hold onto bacteria, yeast, or infection, it will alter the shape of the ear canal and likely affect the dog's ability to hear.
Training Your Dog to Cope with Hearing Loss
If your dog is newly dealing with significant hearing loss after his or her TECA procedure, it can be a difficult, and confusing time. Fortunately, there are plenty of training techniques as well as living modifications you can help make that will make your dog's life easier, more comfortable, and just as happy as before.
First, we suggest monitoring your dog much more closely than before - because he or she is unable to hear, it will take a while to get used to using other senses to aid in detection. Deaf or hard-of-hearing dogs are not able to hear traffic or other dangers around them, so it's important that you're training your dog to stick close to you while training yourself to keep a more watchful eye on your pooch.
That being said, you can teach your dog to abide by special hand signals in order to keep their behavior in tip-top shape. You'll first want to ensure that your dog is associating a hand gesture with a common command. While your dog might not be able to hear you say "sit" anymore, you could make a specific motion with your hand, then guide your dog's behind to the ground - do this until they understand that sit is associated with this command. We suggest rewarding your dog with affection, play time, and lots of treats.
It's also important that you re-learn how to approach your dog, as well as teaching others to approach your dog carefully. While a dog's other senses surely can help him or her know when someone is coming, a deaf dog is more inclined to be surprised, so it's important to teach yourself and your guests to be sensitive to your dog's ear issues.
By a Great Dane lover Hanna Marcus
Published: 05/15/2018, edited: 04/06/2020