After 13 years in mixed practice, it’s not often that something crops up that makes you surprised/shocked/bursting to take photos. However, a few months back, such a case occurred.
I was about to start operating when my receptionist asked if I could examine a dog because the owner “thinks she’s got something in her eye”. This didn’t involve a lot of diagnosis – the stick was visible from across the waiting room.
Meg, a young springer spaniel, appeared to be unaware that anything was amiss and her tail never stopped wagging. However, we all feared the worst, assuming that an eye removal would be needed.
I could see that the stick had entered through the eyelids and contoured the lower edge of the boney orbit, pushing the eyeball upwards. Some sedation into the vein allowed me to quickly remove the stick.
Fortunately, it didn’t seem to have splintered and was blunt enough to push the tissues aside, rather than penetrate the eye. We stained the surface of the eye and saw two superficial scratches and her pupil was constricted, the natural reaction to pain.
I treated Meg with eye drops, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pain-killers, plus the ‘cone of shame’ (buster collar) to stop her rubbing the eye. Ten minutes after coming round Meg trotted out to the car park, still wagging her tail.
She was re-examined a few days later and other than a slight swelling on her lower eyelid, she seemed normal. Her owner said she was bright and eating, the eye was wide open and even the scratches had gone.
She was incredibly lucky, but I have warned the owners that we do occasionally see foreign bodies (splinters or vegetation) lying dormant before forming an abscess, which may be hard to reach.