Video Otoscopic Ear Flush

Identifies ruptured eardrums, foreign objects, and tumors.

Why perform a video otoscopic ear flush?

If a pet has a middle ear infection that is not resolving with antimicrobial therapy (especially after two recent attempts), then an anesthetized video otoscopic ear flush should be performed to help visualize and clean out the diseased ear.

Video otoscopy is performed using an otoscope, fiber-optic camera, light source, and screen. This specialized equipment brightly illuminates and magnifies the ear canal and eardrum on the screen. A dual port adapter allows the simultaneous usage of both sterile saline and suction to flush the ear canal.

Your pet is placed under general anesthesia. The otoscope is inserted into the ear canal. Usually, when a middle ear infection is present, the eardrum is already ruptured. If it is not ruptured, then a small hole will be punctured in the ear drum (myringotomy) to allow access to the middle ear for flushing and culture. Any future topical medications would also have better access to the middle ear. The tympanic membrane usually grows back over time (2-4 weeks) if infection and inflammation have otherwise resolved.

A sterile swab will then be inserted through the otoscope and into the middle ear for culture. Identifying the microorganisms present in the ear allows us to prescribe the most effective antibiotic. Next, copious amounts of sterile saline are flushed in through the port in the otoscope and simultaneously suctioned out. This turbulence in the ear canal breaks up the debris, meticulously and effectively cleaning both the external and middle ear.

After the procedure, your pet may be given or prescribed anti-inflammatory steroids to reduce swelling. Your pet will be monitored carefully while recovering from anesthesia. Ear flushes are considered an elective outpatient procedure, and your pet will be discharged same-day while we wait for culture results.

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