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Healthy Dogs

Bulging Eyes on Dog

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This is an emergency. Dislocation of one or both eyeballs is a common problem in dogs with large, bulging eyes such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, Pekingese, Maltese, and some spaniels. It is generally caused by dog bites and other types of trauma. Struggling with these dogs while attempting to hold and restrain them for any reason can cause the eye to bulge out so far that the eyelids snap shut behind the eyeball. This prevents the eyeball from returning to its socket and may pull on and damage the optic nerve

Treatment: A dislocated eyeball is an extremely serious condition that may cause loss of vision. Shortly after the eye dislocates, swelling behind the eye makes it extremely difficult to return the eyeball to its normal position. Proceed at once to the nearest veterinary hospital. Carry the dog, if possible. Cover the eye with a wet cloth. Prevent the dog from pawing at the eye.

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If it appears that veterinary help will not be available within 30 minutes, consider attempting to reposition the eyeball yourself. This requires at least two people: one to restrain and hold the dog and the other to reposition the eye. Lubricate the surface of the eye with K-Y or petroleum jelly and lift the eyelids out and over the eyeball, while maintaining gentle inward pressure on the globe with a wad of moist cotton. If you’re not successful, make no further attempt. Seek professional assistance. Even if you can replace the eyeball, you should visit your veterinarian for follow-up care, because the delicate tissues may be damaged.

After the eye has been replaced, your veterinarian may suggest a surgical procedure to prevent a recurrence.

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