Ask a vet about dog eye problems, diagnosis, and treatment

Dog eye problems – ask a vet for online advice

From time to time, VetLive likes to publish some of their consults. Here is a question from a pet parent about her dog’s eye that is under treatment by her regular veterinarian.  Though her regular veterinarian recommended the pet be evaluated by an opthalmologist, the client did not understand the importannce of this and her appointment was for three weeks away.  The eye had worsened since the veterinarian last saw him and the pet may have lost his eye by the time three weeks passed.  He would have needed an expensive enucleation surgery at that point and been without an eye at 10 weeks old.

My 10 week old pugs eye has gone opaque. We took him into the vet and she prescribed us a pill antibiotic and two diffferent eye drops. He can now keep his eye open, but since yesterday his eye has gone red around the opaque part.

Dear Kathy,

I don’t think that this is an emergency from what you described… especially since Phineas is under therapy for an eye infection right now. But in order to give you a better and more accurate response, if you could upload a close-up picture the eye, I will be better able to evaluate it and in a few hours can give you a detailed answer. Also, I have a few more questions:

1. Was the cause of the lesion identified by the vet (i.e. a scratch, foreign body, etc.), or was the cause unknown?
2. Were the words “corneal ulcer”, or just “ulcer” ever used?
3. What medications is Phineas on (please just transcribe the names and ingredients)
4. Once again, a photo speaks a thousand words

Sorry for all the questions right back at you, but I want to help you (and Phineas), the very best I can.

Best Regards,

Dr. Jed

Best picture I can get. He’s a very ambitious 10 week old and doesn’t like to sit still!

Dog eye problems opthalmologist

Vet did a test on his eye to determine that there was no ulcer, but something did hit his eye. She described the opaqueness as bacteria behind the eye. She said she is very concerned, and referred me to a Vet Vision Dr.

Medications are:
1. Eye Drops-Gentamicin Sulfate Ophthalmic Solution 0.3% to be given every 8 hours.
2. Atropine Sulfate Ophthalmic Solution 1% to be given every 12 hours until pupil dilates, then once a day. (We can’t even see his pupil to determine that..?)
3. Pill. Antirobe Caps. Every 12 hours. 25mg.

He is acting completely normal and is having fun with his brother..we have not determined if we think he can see out of that eye yet, he doesn’t seem to run into anything.

There are a few things I am concerned about:

1. The new appearing redness at the periphery of the eye. This could be one of several things. First, it could be neovascularization which is new blood vessels that form in order to help the eye heal. It could also be irritated tissues due to worsening of the infection. Either way, magnification and an opthalmascope would be needed to evaluate the eye, in person.

2. This is a serious eye problem. Whenever the eye is insulted so much that it becomes cloudy, you have to worry about inflammation of the eye (called uveitis) and increased pressure in the eye (called glaucoma). Measuring the eye pressure regularly is something that is important. Most vets have a tono-pen that they can use to carry out tonometry to measure the intraocular pressure. There is a normal range that it should be within. Low pressure can indicate that uveitis is going on. High pressure means glaucoma. Uveitis can even lead to glaucoma (I attached a handout on glaucoma just in case you need it down the line). Either way this will likely change the regimen of medications. Therefore, if there was a change in they eye in my dog with opacity such as Phineas and new redness, I would want the eye pressure also re-evaluated. Furthermore, the fact that atropine is being given is an indication that the vet is trying to prevent these two problems. An increased eye pressure for an extended period of time will lead to blindness. If this is picked up early, there are medications to treat it.

In summary, if this were my puppy and there was a change in the eye (which is hopefully just scleritis – inflammation of the sclera), I would want the eye pressure re-evaluated and another opthalmic exam, hopefully by that Vet Vision doctor as soon as you could get in. There is just so much for Phineas to lose that it would be a shame not to. I am sorry I couldn’t tell you otherwise, but in my experience, acute changes in opaque eyes is something that warrants further investigation.

Let’s hope that I am being overly cautious and that Phineas’ exam shows that the redness is just part of the healing process. I wish you two the very best.

Dr. Jed

Thank you very much. So in your professional opinion, do you think he can currently see out of that eye?..and do you think, with the way it looks..that it can be saved? I really hate for him to lose his eye at such a young age..and I love him to death, just looking at it makes me sad.

Our appointment is not until the 9th. Should I call and beg for an earlier appointment?

I am sure he can see light in that eye if his retina is fine, but the opacity has affected visual acuity. I have seen opaque eyes clear up and vision return to normal or near normal. Just do everything that your ophthalmologist says to the best of your ability and make sure to store the medications appropriately and that is all you can do.

One more thing- I want to be more clear… You either need to call and beg the referral hospital to get seen asap or is that doesn’t work you need to get your vet to referr you to another opthalmologist. That is what I would do if it was my puppy. At the very least, you need to check back with your vet because of the redness and for an exam.  You sound like a fantastic pet owner- so I know you will.

Dr. Jed

Thank you very much for the help! I can sleep easier now! :)

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October 5, 2012 at 13:43

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