A patient story about a dog with a corneal ulcer
Nibs is a 7 year old Chihuahua. Her owners noticed she was keeping her left eye closed one Friday night and kept a ‘close eye’ on her through the evening. The condition hadn’t improved by Saturday morning so they presented her to Perth Vet Emergency for a check-up.
Dr Cubbage was the consulting veterinarian. She noticed there was mild discomfort with no ocular discharge. All other examinations appeared normal giving clear indication that all attention needed to be focused on the eyes.
Nibs was diagnosed to have a corneal oedema (cloudiness) of the left eye. This was visible to Dr Cubbage without fluorescein staining though this examination process was still performed in an effort to determine the severity of the damage. In this process, a medical staining agent is applied to the eye which is then examined under ultraviolet light. The colourant stains dead, degenerated, or damaged cells allowing the veterinarian to identify the extent of the injury/damage.
The fluorescein staining showed Nibs had a moderately deep corneal ulcer so diagnostics and treatment was recommended to the pup’s owners to get on top of the condition before it got any worse.
A further eye examination was performed and thankfully showed that the anterior chamber of the eye had not been damaged. The anterior chamber is the fluid-filled space between the cornea and the iris.
Both of Nib’s eyes were flushed repeatedly. While only the left eye was damaged, we weren’t certain of the cause so both eyes were flushed to avoid further injury. No foreign contaminants were found in the left eye so the injury is suspected to have been caused by a poorly positioned face scratch.
Within an hour, Nibs was discharged to return home. She was given analgesia, which is pain relief, and eye medication to help lubricate as with antibiotics. Her owners also received a PVE medical report with advice about administering the medication as well as symptoms to watch for during home care. A more detailed report with medical results was sent to her GP so they were aware of her visit as well as the medications that were dispensed. Nibs’ owners were also instructed to have a recheck at her GP within 2 to 3 days to monitor her eye and ensure the medication prescribed was adequate. Being a Saturday, her owners were able to find comfort knowing the PVE Team were a phone call away if they needed any advice until her veterinarian opened again on Monday.
If you notice your pet doesn’t look quite right, has a sore eye or their eye appears ‘different’ please seek veterinary attention. If your vet is not available, the team at Perth Vet Emergency are open and more than happy to help – even if it is to just put you at ease. Eye injuries cannot fix themselves. If left untreated, further damage can occur which may lead to blindness. You can read more about corneal ulcers in this PVE article.