I remember to visit my optometrist for my annual eye exam. I wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from UV rays. I am careful not to get makeup or other irritants in my eye. It can be easy to remember to take care of our own eyes, but sometimes we forget that our four-legged friends can be in need of vision care too!
Recently, my cousin, Shari, was hiking with her dog, Riley the Weimaraner, outside of Denver, CO, when some low-hanging brush scratched Riley’s eye. Or perhaps Riley scratched her own eye without the help of the brush (she can be troublesome like that!). By the time Shari and Riley returned home from the hike, poor Riley’s eye was already irritated and looked hurt. Something appeared to be stuck or lodged in her cornea. After consulting a home vet emergency book, Shari flushed Riley’s eye really well, and when the foreign object still appeared to be stuck in Riley’s eye, she dampened a Q-tip and used it to try to carefully dislodge the object. Still, though, the object wouldn’t fall out of Riley’s eye.
After rushing to the pet care emergency room, the vet used a fluorescein dye stain to determine that Riley’s cornea was actually torn (he used the word “ulcer”), not pierced with a piece of backcountry brush. If the tear had been more significant, perhaps Riley would have had to visit a vet ophthalmologist, but, luckily, the ER vet as able to apply Vetropolycin antibacterial ointment directly onto Riley’s eye and send Shari home with the instructions to continue to apply the ointment on Riley’s eye three times a day for ten days.
After ten days, the vet will conduct another stain test to be sure that Riley’s eye is healing. In the meantime, Riley is bumping into walls and doors around the house wearing what Shari calls the “Cone of Shame.” Maybe when Riley is able to hike again, she’ll have to wear some doggie designer shades to protect her eyes!