What Does The TECA-BO Surgery Entail? A Complete Guidelines

Never owned a pet before? Then, it's the right time to familiarize yourself with all the necessary procedures required to keep your dogs or cats fit and healthy. The primary care includes worming and flea treatments, vaccinations, dental care, bathing, grooming, nail clipping, etc. But according to the experts, pet owners must have complete know-how about the complicated but most common diseases that require surgeries to be cured. So, as a responsible pet owner, you should get your pet, regardless of whether it's a cat or dog, registered with a local veterinary practice where you can take it for all its routine medical check-ups and treatment.  

In addition to primary care like vaccines, you should immediately get your animal to the professional if you notice something unusual in your pet’s physical health. But it's also a fact that you cannot give the utmost care to dogs or cats until you completely understand the viral disease symptoms and other details. For instance, both cancerous and benign ear canal tumors have become common in dogs and cats. However, this article will cover all aspects of the Total Ear Canal Ablation with Lateral Bulla Osteotomy. So, let's get started! 

What is TECA BO? 

Veterinary surgeons completely remove the affected ear canal and tympanic bulla during the Total Ear Canal Ablation and Bulla Osteotomy (TECA-BO). Only an ear flap is left, most commonly known as the pinna. This surgical procedure is quite complicated, so make sure to visit a specialist and certified veterinarian. Complete removal of the ear may sound scary. But here’s a question that arises, why and when is this surgery recommended? 

In case of chronic, end-stage otitis (ear infections), in which simple medical treatments no longer help pet patients recover, veterinarians recommend TECA-BO. This surgery also becomes the only option if pets suffer from a certain bacterial infection. That resists antibiotic treatment.

Furthermore, sometimes, chronic infection and inflammation result in mineralization and scarring of the ear canal. As a result, it becomes nearly impossible to clean the ear canal to remove accumulated debris. TECA-BO serves its purpose in such a condition and helps remove the infected and abnormal tissue, reducing chronic pain and improving the pet’s well-being. In addition to this, professionals also recommend total ear canal ablation when dogs are suffering from malignant tumors within the ear canal. 

Before further discussion, let me discuss the two primary tumors in the pet's ear canals. The first one is benign, which doesn’t spread, may and may not be problematic for dogs or cats. The second one is malignant (cancerous), which grows abnormally on the ear canal and can be painful. 

TECA-BO Surgery Procedure 

Before performing this surgery, a dog will undergo a pre-operative assessment. Moreover, the surgery includes the following: 

Preparing For The TECA

  • Veterinarians perform radiographs or CT scanning to assess the tympanic bullae better. Before administering the surgery, it is crucial to know the condition of bullae, tumor growth, and how narrowed the ear canals are. Thus, images (through radiography) will help veterinary surgeons decide whether or not this aggressive surgery is appropriate for the pet patient. 
  • Professionals may perform ear drainage culture, which helps check for the germs that can affect the treatment and cause infection. 
  • Before surgery, it is also very important to know if any nerve problem exists. Because the nerves are affected and diseased before surgery,  it is unlikely that they will reclaim function even after the surgery. Therefore, dogs undergo a pre-surgery assessment of cranial nerve function.
  • You should always remember that facial paralysis is very common in dogs and cats having long-standing ear diseases. Because the facial nerve runs just near the base of the ear, which means the pet patient is slacked jawed, and it's very difficult for them to blink. 
  • It is also important to discuss that the TECA-BO may not dramatically affect the hearing, which most pet patients already lost due to chronic ear disease. However, most pet owners, have already know whether or not their pets can hear. But it is essential to conduct a hearing test before surgery. 
  • Additionally, veterinarians recommend complete blood and urinary test before administering any major surgical or anesthetic procedure.  


The procedure includes the following: 

  • To perform total ear ablation, surgeons give general anesthesia to the pet patients. 
  • Surgeons then clip the affected ear and prepare the site for sterile surgery.
  • Then an incision is made around the opening of the ear canal. After making the incisions, the medical practitioner dissects and removes the ear canal.  
  • This will ensure the clear visibility of the middle ear cavity, commonly known as the tympanic bulla, which enables surgeons to remove the debris from the middle ear. It is pertinent to mention here that such patients' eardrums are always ruptured and absent.  
  • The medical practitioners then submit the affected material from the bulla for the bacterial culture, enabling healthcare providers to know the possible presence of the infection-causing bacteria and decide which antibiotics will be effective for the affected dogs.
  • After this, the surgeons clean the bone lining of the bulla and close the incision. However,  an external drain is left in place, allowing the remaining fluid to exit from the incision. 
  • At the end of the procedures, veterinary surgery experts use a bandage or Elizabethan collar, stopping pets from rubbing their face or surgery site. 

Post-operative Care For Pets 

Most of the time, the dogs are sent home after the surgeries. They have a drain still in place and bandages covering the wounds or surgical site. This is the time to take proper care of your pets. Listen to the instructions of your veterinarians, and get the complete details about the care and removal of the drains and bandages. You should remember that a little bit of ignorance in this matter can lead to potential risks or infections. 

Give your pets the pain medication and antibiotics exactly according to the surgeons' instructions. Most of the time, Antibiotics are usually given for 2-4 weeks after the surgery. However, it depends on your dog's overall health and, more importantly, the severity of the disease. 

To prevent the self-trauma to the surgical site, which may be caused by continuous scratching, your dog will require to wear an Ecollar. 

Potential Complications 

The primary risks of the Total Ear Canal Ablation with Lateral Bulla Osteotomyare included:

  • It may damage the blood supply to this area. 
  • Partial blood supply to the ear flap.
  • Dead tissues along the edges of the ear. It happens because of the stoppage of the blood supply. 
  • In addition, damage to the facial nerve may lead to temporary or permanent facial paralysis. 

Hence, as a responsible pet owner, you should make every possible effort to give your pet a healthy life. But, just like dogs are the symbol of love and loyalty, it's also humans' responsibility to keep their pets happy, healthy, and fit.