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ear surgery

5486 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Anonymous
Hi everyone, I was a member a few years ago but haven't been here in a while. I decided to rejoin because I am searching for some advice. My basset Copper has had chronic ear troubles. Our vet has given us every antibiotic available, and the last one seemed to work in combination with twice daily ear cleanings and topical medication. But after a few weeks his ears started to get bad again. He has three different strains of infection. He is a rescue and had this problem when we got him. We took him back to the vet for his weekly checkup and after testing, the vet said he had developed an immunity to the antibiotic. Unfortunately this was our last hope to treat the problem with medication. We have now decided to go ahead with surgery. I am very nervous because we have been told Copper will no longer be able to hear. I wondered if anyone has been through this situation and could give me advice on ways I might be able to ease his transition. Also if anyone else has had to resort to surgery, did you have good results. We have tried so many things and I am just hoping this will finally relieve my precious baby of his pain.
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I haven't had to deal with this problem personally, but here are a couple of good discussions of the various surgical options. From what you've said, it sounds as if your vet is recommending TECA (Total Ear Canal Ablation).

Total Ear Canal Ablation, used on end-stage ears.

Lateral Ear Resection, a more conservative surgery, for ears that aren't end-stage yet.
Thank you Betsy, It is TECA. The article youposted was very helpful. I am glad to know all the risks and what will actually happen during surgery. I am hopeful the outcome will be worth everything he will have to go through. I will post once he has the surgery in two weeks to let you know how he does. Thanks Again.
Not that I'm a medical expert or anything, but if you want to give it one last try before resorting to surgery you might try the Blue Power Ear Treatment if you haven't already. My dog also had three or four different bacteria in his ears, I couldn't clean them, even gently, without them bleeding, they were oozing yellow goo. I had tried EVERYTHING on my hound's ears without success, but this stuff cleared them up permanently.

Other ideas:
Does Copper have allergies? This will contribute to your ear problems, you need to try to find the allergen and take care of it. Easier said than done, of course, but it is difficult or impossible to clear up the ears without first alleviating the allergy problem.

Another person I know has a basset with a neck problem. She takes him to a chiropractor. Often when he is in need of adjustment his ears start to produce "stuff" which they normally don't. They return to normal after the adjustment. The chiro says that the maladjustment in the neck is irritating the ears. Strange but.....
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YES! Try the Blue Power if you haven't already. Emma had ear infection after ear infection...UNTIL I tried the Blue Power. She has not had one since I started using it--I'm serious. It was a godsend.
While I haven’t had this issue with my bassets, I just had to do this (December 2003) with my old lab/shar-pei mix, since shar-peis are notorious for their allergies. We only did one ear, since only one ear was REALLY bad. The other ear was not as badly affected. It will probably have to be done at some later date, however.

We had gone the same route with antibiotics, even having a resistance screen done on the bacteria, to see what antibiotics would work. Unfortunately, after so long with chronic infections, the middle and inner ears begin to harden (calcify is the term my vet used), which then becomes another issue.

The surgery we had done was removal of the all the internal ear and ear canal, then they sewed the external ear opening closed. To look at him now, you can’t tell he had anything done. My vet did put Frank on a course of heavy duty antibiotics (one of the ones that worked) for 2 weeks prior to the surgery to try to get as much of the bacteria cleared out as possible, so they could minimize “cross-infection” in the surgery site.

In terms of transition—it was not very difficult for mine, since he had lost most of his hearing in that ear from the chronic infections and middle/inner ear calcifications. The surgery just got rid of the constant malaise from that ear. Once we got that ear done, he was like a different dog—bouncing around and playing like he did when he was younger (he’s 11years old.) It may be the same thing with Copper. With infections in those ears for so long, I don't know how much hearing he really has. It may not be as traumatic a loss as you imagine, especially since he will be shed of all the hurt from the infections.

You will need to learn hand signals and remember that you must communication visually with your dog (we forget sometimes with Frank). I think that you will see a much happier dog once you get past the post-surgery recovery and all the ick from the ears is now gone.

I do agree with one of the other posters who suggested checking into allergies. In particular, I would check his food. All my dogs have real problems with corn; once I changed food to one without any corn or corn products, things got much easier. We still have grass allergies, but benadryl/claritin keeps those in line. Blue power is good as well; that what I use to clean Frank’s remaining ear and my basset ears (the husky/collie has no real ear problems, but makes up for it with her Arthur-itis…..)

Good luck with the surgery. It does sound like what you need to do. Once you get Copper recovered from it, I think he’ll be MUCH happier and more like “his old self.” Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.
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Thanks everyone for the advice. Although I am pretty sure he will have to have the surgery, he does have calcification, I will try the blue power. I figure it can't hurt to try and at least then I will have his ears clean for surgery. I am sure the vet will recommend some other preparations when we see him this Saturday as well. I haven't had this problem at all with my other two bassets, but I will try the blue power and if it works as well as everyone says, hopefully they will never have to experience this. Thanks again to everyone.
Good Luck, 3Houndsmom!
My dog just lost his eye to glaucoma so I know how stressful it is. I'll keep Copper in my prayers.
ANything that reduces a pup's pain iis a good thing in my book.
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