Bella had always been fastidious in keeping her appearance in pristine condition although she had been a puss cat who was prone to waxy ears. Since turning 9 years of age however, Bella’s very astute owner had noted that Bella was subtly holding her left ear at a strange angle and from time to time was producing clumps of unpleasant thick brown wax. Bella, like most cats is very independent and needed to be handled very gently in order to examine her ears. Sure enough in the left ear were plugs of thick wax but also a small raspberry like mass near her ear drum (tympanic membrane). A biopsy of this mass confirmed that this was just inflammatory tissue, a polyp. Polyps are more commonly seen in younger cats and can originate in the ear, nose or Eustachian tube – causing obstruction to air flow and acting as a nidus for infections.
With Bella being middle aged, there was concern as to whether the biopsy result truly represented the disease process, so to be certain, Bella had a CT scan at Kentdale Referrals, Milnthorpe. The images revealed that the abnormal tissue was contained in the middle ear (bulla) with no sign of any destruction of the surrounding bone, so unlikely to be an aggressive cancer (ceruminous gland adenocarcinoma). Bella underwent a ventral bulla osteotomy to remove the polyp and mucoid material within the bulla.
For just under 12 months, Bella remained fairly symptom free, but then the brown clumps of wax started to reappear and the polyp had regrown. Although further traction procedures could have been considered, the likelihood of yet more polyp regrowth was high, so it was time to consider gently removing the ear canal, opening out and cleaning the remainder of the middle ear – a total ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy. The surgery was performed at the Knutsford Veterinary Surgery, Cheshire.
Priority is always a patients comfort during and following any surgical procedure, and this level of comfort is often reflected in the way the tissues of the body are handled. A total ear canal ablation and osteotomy surgery if performed by specialist, familiar with the anatomy and careful handling of tissues should not go hand in hand with complications such as facial nerve paralysis, head tilting and chronic abscess formation. Not only does Bella now have a more comfortable ear, but she has also retained her immaculate appearance, with a very cosmetic ear carriage.