Friday, November 22, 2013

Canine corneal ulcers (aka, Sinead loses a bet with a coffee table)

Sinead the Boston terrier with a sore eye
Like most puppies, Sinead is a whirlwind of energy. In particular, she loves to run at high speed for tiny, fluffy, squeaker-filled balls. Most of the time, she's like a precision weapon, able to home in on that ball as it moves through the air, and she can snatch it before it hits the ground.

Unfortunately, catching a ball like this means watching the ball while running. This means Sinead is often looking up while she runs, rather than watching the space into which she's running. On Wednesday, predictably, this ended in disaster.

One throw took a bad bounce, and it landed quite close to an antique side table in the living room. Liam and Lucy are posing in front of this table in the photo below, and as you can see, it has a lot of sharp angles.
Liam the pug and Lucy the cat in front of a table
Sinead ran right into one of those sharp angles with her wide-open eye. I saw it happen, and while she didn't scream or cry and there was no blood involved, I knew we were dealing with a pretty serious problem.

Wee dogs like Sinead (and Liam, too), have smashed-in faces and very prominent eyes. Put these two factors together, and they add up to a dog that's prone to eye injuries. There's no muzzle to take the blow, and the eyes are just big and ready for a poke.

Within 2 hours or so, Sinead had been seen by the ER doctor, and her little scratch had been confirmed. With that diagnosis in hand, she was started on antibiotic therapies that could keep opportunistic critters from digging into her cornea and making that original wound yet deeper than it already was. She also had pain control medications on board, so she'd be less likely to cry.

It's been close to 48 hours now, and I'm happy to report that she's doing much better. She can keep that eye wide open, and she doesn't seem inclined to cry or dig at it. But I'm glad I acted so quickly.

In the past, with my first Boston terrier, I allowed minor scratches to fester, hoping they would heal on their own. In one instance, I thought a cut could wait until morning, when my veterinarian's office was open for business. By the time I got there, Seamus already had a bacterial infection complicating his eye injury. That cut took a long time to heal, and it took some of his vision away as well.

I'm determined not to let that happen to Sinead, so I'm vowing to be on top of any and all cuts she might get. And for now, no more fetch in the house!

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