Total Ear Canal Ablation “TECA” – Post Operative Instructions

Following a successful surgery, owner compliance is the most important factor in recovery. Please be careful and patient with your pet during this time. Following these instructions closely will ensure a speedy recovery.

  1. Pain Management: This surgery is a painful procedure and pain management is a necessity. Continued pain control is a MUST during your pets’ recovery, the appropriate medications will be sent home after surgery. Be sure to administer these medications as directed and until ALL doses are finished. This will keep your pet comfortable and promote a speedy recovery. If you feel at any time the pain is not adequately controlled please contact the clinic. Some side effects of these medications may include: nausea/upset stomach, constipation or diarrhea. It is best to give these medications with food.
  2. Antibiotics: Your pet will be sent home with a course of antibiotics to prevent post-operative infection. Follow the prescribed schedule on the label and finish all doses. Typically a culture from the middle ear is sent to a lab to determine if additional antibiotics are necessary. Upon receiving the results of the cultures we will contact you if additional medications are needed.
  3. Food/ Eating: To ease pressure on the TMJ joint near the surgical site feed a soft /canned food diet for 10 days after surgery. Water or a low sodium chicken broth may be added to the food for a soup like/more liquid consistency. Your pet may have an upset stomach the night of surgery as a side effect of the medications used. Offer ¼ of the normal amount they are fed. If they do not want to eat do not force it. If they eat and vomit pull the food until tomorrow morning. If they eat and are able to hold down the food for an hour you may offer more in small increments throughout the night.
  4. Ice/Cold Compress: Ice the incision site for 10 minutes 3-4 times daily for the first 3 days after surgery. Cold compresses will aid with swelling and pain. A bag of frozen peas/corn or orthopedic gel packs are appropriate for this. Be sure to put a clean towel or cloth between the cold source and the incision site/skin. If this action causes your pet stress or to struggle, don’t do it.
  5. Warm Compress: Warm, moist compresses may be applied to the incision site days 4-10 after the surgery for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day. Warm compresses at this time will improve circulation, help clean the area and promote healing. A clean, warm, moist hand/dish towel works well. If this action causes your pet stress or to struggle, then don’t do it.
  6. Exercise: Your pet MUST be kept indoors during recovery. House confinement with short, leashed potty breaks to the front/backyard are okay. DO NOT use a retractable leash or long line lead; a 4 ft.-6 ft. leash is best. NO parks, swimming, off leash outdoor activity. These activities can result in delayed healing, extended recovery time, infection and further injury to surgical site.
  7. E-collar: IT IS IMPERATIVE DURING RECOVERY TO KEEP YOUR PETS’ E-COLLAR ON AT ALL TIMES, even when they are in the kennel!!! The veterinary staff will advise at rechecks when it is okay discontinue its use. Scratching at the ear will cause the surgical site to open and lead to severe infection. DO NOT use an inflatable or neck brace style E-collar as they do not protect the surgical site from trauma. The “cone of shame” or lampshade style E-collar shield the surgical site appropriately. DO NOT take the E-collar off until advised to do so by the veterinary staff. A warm wet cloth may be used to wipe/clean the E-collar of excess drainage to prevent buildup and infection.
  8. Incision Site Care: A clean, warm, wet cloth may be held on the incision site to loosen any crusted debris. DO NOT WIPE the surgical site, lightly dab. If there is excess drainage on the E-collar wipe/clean it to prevent build up and decrease risk of infection. DO NOT apply any topical ointments, sprays, salves or bandages as this traps bacteria at the surgical site and will result in infection.
  9. Drainage: During the first 24-48 hours blood may ooze from the incision site/drain. Draining is normal and will occur in the following days. If the discharge is white, yellow or green contact the clinic IMMEDIATELY as this is a sign of infection. DO NOT apply ointments or cover this area with a bandage as it can trap bacteria.
  10. Bruising/Swelling: Some bruising/swelling may occur for up to 2 days after surgery, and should resolve on its own. Contact the clinic for further instructions if are concerned.
  11. Facial Nerve Paralysis: Facial nerve paralysis may be present. This may causes a drooping effect or inability to close the eyelids on the same side surgery was performed. If this occurs or blink is diminished keep the affected eye lubricated until normal function returns and contact the clinic.
  12. Rechecks: The first re-check will be 7-10 days following surgery, typically the drain is removed at this time. After evaluating the surgical site further care instructions will be given.
  13. After hours emergency line: During your pet’s discharge you were provided with our after-hours phone number should any questions/complications arise during recovery that need to be addressed immediately. If you call, you will be asked to leave a detailed message and member of our medical team will return your call. This line also accepts text messages. You can also reach the clinic after hours by phone or email.

When should I call after hours?

  • Appetite has not returned within 24-36 hours after surgery.
  • Report ALL vomiting. This could be a sign of medication interaction, sensitivity.
  • Diarrhea – a loose and/or bloody stool can also indicate a medication interaction, sensitivity.
  • If your pet gets the e-collar off and has licked and/or caused damage to the incision site.
  • Incision site is open and/or showing signs of infection: redness, discharge or swelling.