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What is Ventral Bulla Osteotomy?

Ventral bulla osteotomy in dogs is a surgical procedure that involves creating a small opening in the canine’s neck to gain access to the middle ear, or bulla. The purpose of this delicate surgery is to remove infectious material or a polyp along the bony canal of the dog’s ear. A ventral bulla osteotomy is a procedure reserved for canines that have permanent damage to the eardrum as a result of recurrent ear infections, as well as, canines with inflammatory polyps, cancer or a foreign body entrapment. A Ventral bulla osteotomy in dogs must be performed by a trained and licensed veterinary surgeon, as facial nerves can easily be damaged when operating on the ears. 

Ventral Bulla Osteotomy Procedure in Dogs

Ventral bulla osteotomy in dogs, is carried out under general anesthesia. The veterinarian will perform pre-operative blood work to ensure the dog is in good health to have anesthetic administered and for the surgery itself. The dog will then be given a pre-surgical sedative, followed by a tracheal tube to allow the flow of oxygen and anesthetic gas. Once the canine is sedated, he will be taken to the surgical area where the belly will be shaved and cleansed with a sterile antiseptic. The veterinarian will then proceed to perform the surgery. 

The veterinarian will make a small incision under the dog’s jaw bone. Once the bulla is exposed, an opening will be created and the middle ear will be opened up. If the ear is simply infected or debris is entrapped, the ear can be flushed out with a saline solution. However, if a polyp is present, the growth will need to be surgically removed. The polyp will be prepared for biopsy to determine the pathologic nature of the growth. Tubes will be placed in the inner ear to allow fluids drain from the ear. 



Efficacy of Ventral Bulla Osteotomy in Dogs

Ventral bulla osteotomy in dogs is an effective procedure for removing polyps, growths and damage to the middle ear. If the surgery was successful and without complications, the dog will has a high probability of being cured completely. 



Ventral Bulla Osteotomy Recovery in Dogs

Following a ventral bulla osteotomy surgery, your dog will require a great deal of at-home care. Pain and antibacterial medications will need to be administered every day to ensure a positive recovery. Your veterinarian will limit the dog’s physical activities and recommend a change in diet for a selective period of time. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled on the day your dog is released from the clinic.   



Cost of Ventral Bulla Osteotomy in Dogs

Ventral bulla osteotomy in dogs is an expensive surgery, usually ranging from $2,000 to $3,000. If your dog requires a biopsy or specialized care after the surgery, a dog owner can expect to pay an extra $50 to $100. 



Dog Ventral Bulla Osteotomy Considerations

Ventral bulla osteotomy in dogs does require your dog to be sedated, which is often a concern for dog owners. The appearance of the ear may be altered and dogs used for competitive purposes may not be eligible to compete in the future. 



Ventral Bulla Osteotomy Prevention in Dogs

Ventral bulla osteotomy in dogs is a procedure that cannot always be prevented, as growths, polyps and foreign body entrapments affect dogs without a real cause. A foreign body could be prevented by discouraging your dog from digging, but pollen and debris can become lodged in the ears simply by being outside. Ear infections can sometimes be prevented by following proper at-home cleaning practices and following up with the veterinarian regularly. 



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Ventral Bulla Osteotomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


4 Years


Serious severity


1 found helpful


Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Mostly Deaf

With a Cavalier King Charles, recently becoming deaf, that may be presenting with PSOM, a vet indicated that this procedure would be a one and done solution over a myringotomy which research indicates needs to be repeated... *have a neurologist consult next week with possible mri as well. If MRI conclusive that it is PSOM, and we did the VBullaOsteotomy surgery, is there a possibility that hearing could be restored? Or is research not showing any great results in that way...and would it cost two surgeries to do both ears?

April 5, 2018

maestro's Owner



1 Recommendations

With primary secretory otitis media (PSOM), multiple factors are involved and whilst ventral bulla osteotomy may be curative in some case, it doesn’t necessarily mean that hearing would be restored. There are various surgical approaches which may be taken, the first link below is an interesting overview of the condition with a review of the different surgical methods which are used with the condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.cavalierhealth.org/psom.htm www.ufaw.org.uk/dogs/cavalier-king-charles-spaniel-primary-secretory-otitis-media

April 6, 2018

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