Eye ulcers, also known as “corneal ulcers,” are a type of damage that occurs on the dog’s eye surface. These corneal ulcers can range from being quite superficial (a little scrape or scratch) to being significantly deeper and more severe. Let’s discuss dog eye anatomy, corneal ulcer causes, diagnosis, proper treatment, and treatment cost.
Dog eye anatomy
The cornea of your dog’s eye is made up of four layers, and it is considered the most exterior layer of the eye. Because it is transparent, light may pass through the cornea and enter the eye. It serves as a barrier to guard the eye’s interior from pathogens, foreign objects, and just about everything else that may appear with the eyesight. All of the other components, including the pupils and the iris, lay behind it.
Sometimes corneal ulcers occur in dogs’ eyes. In order to treat these ulcers, a veterinarian or veterinary eye specialist will execute a treatment known as chronic ulcer surgery or keratotomy. This process heals ulcers by eliminating the epithelial cells that are no longer connected to the cornea.
The type of anesthesia required (general or topical anesthesia) for this treatment will be determined by the severity of the ulcer. But what about its cost? Let’s move to that!
Dog corneal ulcer treatment cost
The price that will need to be paid to have a corneal ulcer on a canine removed will vary depending on the type of surgical procedure, the size of the pup (which determines the quantity of general or topical anesthetic that will be required for the surgery), your veterinarian, and your location in relation to the geographic area. A superficial keratectomy, which is regarded to be a significantly more complicated procedure for a larger and senior dog, might cost as much as $2,500. On the other hand, a simple/basic keratectomy performed on smaller canines with little complications could cost as little as $500.
Your veterinarian may first want to try a mixture of drops, steroids, and antibiotics (usually costs around $50-$100 per month) to see whether the ulcer gets better before recommending ulcer surgery in some circumstances.
Dog corneal ulcer surgery selection criteria
- If the ulcer does not meet the requirements for surgery, then antibiotics, painkillers, and eye drops will be provided to help treat the infection to see if the symptoms improve.
- If the ulcer meets the criteria for chronic ulcer surgery, it will frequently be necessary to remove the ulcer by cutting deep or even tearing/bursting the ulcer to help preserve the eye.
Causes of dog corneal ulcers
Accidents, dry eye, pathogenic infections, and entropion are among the most common causes of eye ulcers. These conditions lead to ulcers only when they are neglected for a long time and cannot be treated well in time.
Eye ulcers may be quite painful, and if they are not treated, they can rapidly become much worse.
Canine eye ulcer signs and symptoms include the followings:
- Hole/crater on the canine’s eye surface
- Red/inflamed eye
- Blinking way more than average
- Try to avoid shiny lights
- Cloud eye appearance
- Scratching and excessively rubbing at the face/eye
When to contact the dog eye vet?
If your pup is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, has corneal ulceration/corneal perforation, or if you have any reason to believe that it may have ulceration on its eye, you should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
The greatest person to know your dog is you. Even if they do not exhibit any of the symptoms described above, it is in your best interest to get in touch with your animal’s veterinarian just in case.
How is a dog corneal ulcer diagnosed?
In most cases, a superficial corneal abrasion will not be evident without the use of specialized testing and equipment. The use of specialized stains, such as fluorescein, is required in order to identify corneal ulcers. On the cornea, one drop of this dye is applied at a time.
The ulceration will cause the dye to become green and stick to those spots. Ulcers that are large and obvious to the naked eye can improve their visibility with specialized ophthalmic lighting and filters.
Most frequent dog corneal ulcer diagnosing stain
The fluorescein stain test is the most frequent type of canine eye test, and if the pup’s ulcer is severe and extremely shallow, it may be the only necessary test. Before administering the stain or any other medicine, samples can be obtained for culture and cell analysis if the ulcer is persistent or deep. This would come before any treatment with the stain or any other drug.
How is a canine corneal ulcer treated?
The treatment will differ depending on whether or not the canine patient has an eye abrasion, deep corneal ulcer, or descemetocele.
In most cases, the healing process for corneal abrasions takes between three and five days. A medication called ophthalmic antibiotics sprays or ointment is applied to the eye in order to prevent bacterial infections. This medication is also used to treat discomfort and spasms.
Antibiotic sprays/drops are only beneficial for a limited period of time. They need to be administered regularly; antibiotic ointments last slightly longer but still need to be applied every few hours. Depending on the severity of the infection and how well your pet tolerates the medication, the antibiotic mixture should be given to your pet every 5 to 6 hours for the best possible outcomes.
On the other hand, the effects of atropine typically endure for several hours, which means that you only need to take this medication once every 16 to 36 hours.
If the patient has an eye ulcer or a descemetocele, measures must be taken to safeguard the eye and hasten the process of healing. It is possible that surgery will be necessary in order to prevent the damage and allow for steady recovery in the dog. Dogs do not tolerate eye patches very well. In some instances, medical intervention in the form of surgery, such as grid keratectomy or corneal grafting, may be required to remove corneal tissue that has died or is not healing properly. Your dog will have whatever surgery your veterinarian deems necessary to provide the greatest possible recovery. But remember, dogs’ chronic ulcer surgery is the most difficult to treat.
How can you tell whether the ulcer on your dog’s eye is getting better?
Having your dog inspected by a veterinarian is the only way to know for sure whether or not the eye ulcer that he or she has is getting better. In order to have a better look at the ulcer, the veterinarian will use a fluorescein dye along with blue light (as mentioned above).
During the healing process, little blood vessels will grow on the cornea to assist in the healing process. This is a promising indicator that the eye ulcer your dog has been suffering from is beginning to heal.
Since there are often no blood vessels across the cornea, the vet may recommend steroids to diminish them if there is still any present after the ulcer has healed.
What can you do to assist your dog that is suffering from a corneal ulcer?
Obtaining a specialized Elizabethan collar for your canine companion should be the very first thing on your to-do list. This will keep them from scratching or pawing at their eye, which is necessary if they are to make any progress in their recovery.
In addition, your veterinarian may recommend drops that should be given in the comfort of your own home. The task at hand, which consists of putting one or two droplets of the prescription into each eye, ought to be a simple one. Even while some dogs won’t be able to stay still for this, it will speed up the healing process for the ulcer.
Make sure there is no dust in your home to avoid the possibility of your dog contracting an infection from dust or germs. Your dog’s eye health may get significantly worse if an infection is present, and the recovery time will be significantly lengthened as a result.
There are some things that you can do in order to reduce the likelihood of your dog developing ulcers in the future. To begin, make sure that your lawn is regularly mowed and kept short. You risk injuring your furry pal’s eye and developing an ulcer if you run through tall grass.
Investing in a pair of dog goggles is a good idea if your dog is a herding/working dog and thus unable to avoid areas with dense foliage. These goggles will protect your pet’s eyes.
Even if the affected eye seems to be improving, you should continue taking the prescription as directed. There is a good chance the ulcer is still there; it is simply becoming less obvious. The complete course of therapy has to be given, and your veterinarian may want to schedule a follow-up appointment.
The dog corneal ulcer surgery price may vary depending on how old your pet is, but in most cases, you can expect to pay between $500 and $2500 for it. You may also anticipate paying $50-$100 monthly on dog eye ointments or drops, which are helpful in canine corneal ulcer treatment.