My vet has diagnosed my three-year-old Pug with an ulcer in her left eye, which I’m really worried about. Can you tell me a bit more about this, please, and whether I can prevent anything similar happening in the future?

Paul Manktelow advises…

Ulcers in the eyes are a common problem for dogs, either due to a simple scratch, lack of tear production, infection, or penetrating objects, such as grass seeds. They are more frequently seen in brachycephalic breeds – those with shorter faces, like Pugs – because their eyes are anatomically more protruding, and therefore more exposed than others.

There are different types of ulcers, ranging from superficial – where only the surface has been damaged – to deep ulcers where the entire eye has become affected. The deeper the ulcer, the more intensive the treatment – most often involving eye drops, but sometimes surgery to promote healing in the eye. For simple, superficial ulcers, antibiotic eye drops and pain relief are most commonly used, as well as an Elizabethan collar to stop your dog from rubbing at the eye and causing further damage. During the healing process, your dog will probably need repeat vet visits to monitor her progress.

Once healed, prevention involves trying to avoid the most common causes of eye injury, such as fields with long grass, allowing dogs in moving vehicles to ride with their heads out of the window, and dog fights. And also, particularly for dogs who don’t produce enough tears, using lubricating eye drops frequently to keep the eyes moist. If you need more information, I’m sure your vet will be happy to advise.


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