Our December newsletter features corneal ulcers – scratches on the outermost surface of the eye.
Some dog breeds, such as shih tzus, boxers, pugs, and pekingeses, can have these scratches to the eye become disastrous – to the point of losing the eyeball! In those breeds, we must treat the eye very aggressively, such as applying medication every 3 hours, round the clock, which means yes, waking up in the middle of the night.
In most other breeds, however, such damage to the cornea can heal with simple medication, and only takes a few days!
We can test for corneal scratches (ulcers) in your house! The way we detect damage to the cornea is by applying a stain called fluorescein to the eye. It glows, or fluoresces (hence the name) under a special light. By applying the stain to the eye, rinsing it gently, then holding a specific wavelength of light to the face, we can easily see any damage to the eye. The procedure itself is painless – although often their eye hurts and they just don’t want it messed with. The stain appears green, and sticks to any holes in the cornea.
In this photo, the green stain has settled into the sizeable defect in the dog’s eye. Under ideal circumstances, even a defect like this can be healed in a matter of days!
Owners can easily see the damage, and it’s nice for them to really see what is happening in their dog’s eye. The recheck visits of these are usually fun, because you, the owner, can easily see how improved it is!