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Modified Ear Canal Ablation and Lateral Bulla Osteotomy for Management of Otitis Media in an Alpaca


  • Dr. Sara Colopy is supported by a training grant (T32 RR023916) from the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).

Corresponding Author

Sara Colopy, DVM, Diplomate ACVS, Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706




To report surgical treatment of severe otitis media in an alpaca by a modification of a subtotal ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy technique used in dogs.

Study Design

Case report.


An 11-week-old female alpaca cria.


The cria had a 2-week history of right otitis media, nonresponsive to medical treatment, as well as right facial nerve paralysis, and a melting corneal ulcer of the right eye. Otitis media was confirmed by computed tomography. Right subtotal ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy were performed using a modification of a technique reported in dogs.


There were no surgical complications and the alpaca was discharged from the hospital 5 days later. At 10 months, moderate motor function had been restored to the pinna with the ear standing partially erect. The otitis had resolved, and the alpaca was reportedly well integrated into the herd.


Subtotal ear canal ablation and lateral bulla osteotomy, a technique modified from that performed in dogs, were successful in providing complete clinical resolution of otitis media in an alpaca.