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To compare complications and outcome following unilateral, staged bilateral, and single-stage bilateral ventral bulla osteotomy (VBO) in cats.
282 client-owned cats treated by VBO at 25 veterinary referral and academic hospitals from 2005 through 2016.
Medical records of cats were reviewed to collect information on signalment, clinical signs, diagnostic test results, surgical and postoperative management details, complications (anesthetic, surgical, and postoperative), and outcome. Associations were evaluated among selected variables.
Unilateral, staged bilateral, and single-stage bilateral VBO was performed in 211, 7, and 64 cats, respectively, representing 289 separate procedures. Eighteen (9%), 2 (29%), and 30 (47%) of these cats, respectively, had postoperative respiratory complications. Cats treated with single-stage bilateral VBO were significantly more likely to have severe respiratory complications and surgery-related death than cats treated with other VBO procedures. Overall, 68.2% (n = 197) of the 289 procedures were associated with Horner syndrome (19.4% permanently), 30.1% (87) with head tilt (22.1% permanently), 13.5% (39) with facial nerve paralysis (8.0% permanently), and 6.2% (18) with local disease recurrence. Cats with (vs without) Horner syndrome, head tilt, and facial nerve paralysis before VBO had 2.6, 3.3, and 5.6 times the odds, respectively, of having these conditions permanently.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Findings suggested that staged bilateral VBO should be recommended over single-stage bilateral VBO for cats with bilateral middle ear disease. Cats with Horner syndrome, head tilt, and facial nerve paralysis before surgery were more likely to have these conditions permanently following surgery than were cats without these conditions.