Ear Ablation Surgery


TCS Member
Nov 20, 2017
Hi All,

I was searching on internet about Ear Ablation Surgery and happened to find this thread. Thank you all for sharing your experience and they are really helpful!

My cat, Fish, is only 1 year and 4 month old, but is having ear infection for about 6 months. He is having good appetite and play and run normally. His right ear has yellowish discharge, and my vet cultured it saying it's baterial infection. However, we tried several antibiotics based on the culture result and we did ear cleanning and applied ear drops, they all do not solve the condition. Few days ago, my vet suggested us to do an x-ray to see what's going on with my cat's right ear, at the same time, she did orthoscope examination in my cat's ear. She said the typanic membrane look replaced by a solid ulcerated tissue, but she's not 100% sure if it's polyp. She told us normally the typanic membrane should be a thin shiny membrane, but in my cat's right ear, it's not like that. And there is a lot of liquid/discharge in the canal. So she recommended us to do Total Ear Ablation Surgery to remove the canal and flush everything out. This surgery sounds so drastic to us, so we are so worried about it.

I also asked my vet about checking what really is the "solid ulcerated tissue", but vet said this need to do CT under full general anesthesia. My vet said this tissue should be the cause for my cat's ear infection, and she said now my cat is having otitis media/internal. Her suggestion is to do surgery as antibiotics might not work.

Currently we don't know how to decide and what to proceed.. My cat is so young, and except the discharge from right ear, he looks fine, eat well, energetic and play normally. This surgery is so drastic and risky as hearing, facial nerve might be affected. But we feel his right ear infection is like a timed bomb, still need to solve it, if not it may lead to other problems.. If you have any suggestion or any experience to share, please help me, thanks a lot in advance!


Inky's legacy - Belly rubs CAN tame feral cats!
Alpha Cat
Feb 12, 2017
I've posted a lot about my cat Inky and his teca surgeries. Even with one total ear canal ablation surgery they still have hearing in the other ear. Otitis is very painful and a nightmare to manage with lots of ear cleaning which cats hate and can sometimes make them worse.
Cats are very stoic and evolve to hide pain. Inky was so affectionate and loving and ate well so I thought he was happy and didn't do the teca until he had bleeding tumors that were cancerous. If I'd done it sooner he might never have developed cancer and I'd be cuddling with him right now.
He was so happy and playful like I'd never seen in his life after the second teca. He was finally painfree and not having to hide it anymore despite all the painkillers I was giving him.
If you don't trust the vet or hospital get a second opinion. But otitis is advanced and very difficult to manage and you can't manually clean the while ear canal. You can do the CT first for peace of mind. A young cat should theoretically bounce back faster and heal better than a fifteen year old cat like Inky was. His facial nerve paralysis was temporary and went away.
You have to make your own decisions but I'd do it as long as I had the money and trusted the vet.
I have another cat with a blue ear, not cancer but the cysts are blocking the whole ear canal and bothering him. He's constantly scratching and shaking his head. His insurance won't cover it or I'd look into laser surgery to remove the cysts or teca for him so he'd be more comfortable. First I need more money though.


TCS Member
Dec 8, 2022
I've never heard of this before in a cat - at least not prior to November 2010. Since it seems to be relatively uncommon, I decided tonight to start this thread in hopes it will help someone in the future.

In Oct 2010 Squishy had a dental cleaning. A scope was inserted into his ear where a tumor or mass was found. Options were to leave it be or try ear surgery. His ear would drain blood so in November 2010 he had ear surgery.

An ear ablation involves removing the ear canal - Squishy's was far more extensive than anyone imagined, as once the vet got in there his mass was much bigger than anticipated. It was non-cancerous, so the vet proceeded with the surgery.

I picked up my 16 - 18 y/o boy the next day & took him home in tears. I couldn't believe what I had done. What followed were 6+ weeks of recovery - I'd hazard to say it took 6 months to fully heal. The first 6 weeks were awful, I had to take great pains to ensure he didn't scratch it open, etc.

He had to wear a cone for short periods of time, thankfully a gauze pad/gauze neckwrap kept him from scratching his ear open. Nail caps kept his claws covered so he couldn't do so much damage.

Then - Nov 2010

Today - May 13, 2011

Normal ear canal

Ear ablation ear - no ear canal
We have a cat that just went through the ear ablation surgery. The vet said everything went well but one eye cannot blink and we need to put drops in it. They said it would take a couple of weeks and should return to normal. But now one day after surgery we took him back to the hospital because he cant seem to swallow food. It just falls out of his mouth. I am really worried. What would have caused this as we were not told that this could happen. Anyone else have this or know anything about this. Thank you