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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7571
Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc
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I have a small tow year old Cavalier spaniel with a very

Customer Question

I have a small tow year old Cavalier spaniel with a very aggressive tumor near her left eardrum. It is smooth and pink, but most likely benign. It appeared in the last 30mdays
so we caught it early. A total ear canal abolition will most likely be needed. Being near the ear drum, the left facial nerve could be damagedduring the surgery. I am reading that the possibility is normally 5% to 10% for permanentdamage. The surgeon we interviewed has 32 years experience. He says he will removethe canal and other inner ear components and that he estimates that 30% to 40% of dogs having the TECA surgery experience permanent nerve damage. This concerns me. Do we need to look elsewhere? Frank Dickens
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 1 year ago.

Hi there Frank,

Thank you for your question regarding your King Charles Cav boy Cricket who has been diagnosed with an aggressive tumor by his left eardrum. You are right in that the majority of dogs that have a TECA are absolutely fine afterwards. The typical rate of facial nerve paralysis is around 10 - 20% for most surgeons, and the good news is that in many cases, this isn't permanent, but rather is temporary (most cases resolve within 4 - 6 weeks) due to bruising around the region the nerve runs. If facial nerve paralysis did occur (temporary or permanent) then this typically causes some mild drooping of the upper lip and eyelid on the affected side and can result in a reduced blink reflex. Eye lubrication may be required for a time until the third eyelid adapts.

There are a number of papers looking at the incidence of post operative complications from this surgery in cats and dogs including this one: . You will read that around 22% of cats and dogs who had the surgery had some paralysis, but for many dogs this resolved within 2 weeks.

So, this particular surgeon may just be increasing the estimate to make you aware that nerve damage is possible and to put more emphasis on that (knowing that his success rate is better than that), or perhaps he is saying that he would predict between a 30 - 40% chance of your boy having an issue (particularly if the tumor is quite large and invasive). Whatever the case, I would certainly recommend that you get a board certified surgeon to undertake this procedure, and if this vet isn't one, then the best next step would be have Cricket referred to one. Your regular vet can help you do this, and you can use this site to find a boarded surgeon in your area:

All the best with Cricket and his surgery. Let me know how you get on if you get a chance. If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION (I am not compensated in any other way). Bonuses are always welcome. Thanks! I hope to work with you again soon!

Kind Regards,

Dr E

PS: If you have additional questions after you rate the question, you are welcome to request me for additional conversations if I am on-line or by beginning your question "Dr. E..." or "Pet-doc..." and others will leave the questions for me.

Expert:  Pet Doc replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about Cricket. How is everything going?

Pet Doc