Abstract

To investigate the perioperative complications and outcomes of rabbits undergoing partial ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy for treatment of chronic otitis. Surgical logbooks were searched to identify rabbits that underwent partial earcanal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy between December 2009 and September 2021. Datacollected included signalment, history, clinical signs, historical and current medical management,physical examination findings, preoperative diagnostic imaging and aural bacterial culture results, surgical procedure information, duration of hospitalisation, complications and final outcome. Twenty rabbits with chronic, medically unresponsive otitis underwent 27 partial ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomies. Ten rabbits had pre-existing neurologic deficits and 17 had an ear base abscess at the time of surgery. A total of 13 (65%) rabbits developed at least one complication, either in the perioperative period or between discharge and recheck. Three of these rabbits (15%) underwent revision surgery for persistent or recurrent ear base abscess. Complete resolution of clinical signs ultimately occurred in 12 (60%) rabbits. Three (15%) rabbits showed improved but not completely resolved clinical signs (three facial asymmetry). Five (25%) rabbits died of causes potentially related to chronic otitis and/or partial ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy; two of these rabbits had undergone revision surgery. Although this study reports a high complication rate (65%), most complications resolved, with 15 (75%) rabbits having a good to excellent final outcome. Since the majority ofrabbits in this study had chronic and severe ear disease, further studies are required todetermineif surgical intervention earlier in the disease process could result in a lower complicationrate.

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