A dog is very similar to a human in the sense that they can be diagnosed with serious medical conditions that can be life-threatening if not treated. A dog has a lot of the same anatomy as we do, which means they can often develop similar medical problems and they would require similar treatments. There are a lot of different medical conditions that could affect a dog and most of them are able to be treated with prompt diagnosis and medical care. One of the most problematic areas on a dog is the eyes which are very susceptible to infections and other related health issues. Sunken eyes are one of the serious medical conditions that your dog could be afflicted with and it is often a sign of something more serious. If your dog has sunken eyes then it is important to take them to the veterinarian so they can be checked out and the proper medical care can be given.
Sunken eyes or enophthalmus as it is also called is a displacement of the eyeball in which it goes backwards into the orbit of the eye. Sunken eyes can occur in dogs or cats and can often be a sign of a more serious health issue. Depending on the cause of the sunken eyes, your dog might or might not be affected by this medical condition. Sunken eyes are something that any dog can get no matter the age or breed of the dog. If your dog is suffering from sunken eyes it is important to know that it can be caused by a variety of things. When you notice your dog is suffering from sunken eyes, you need to get them to the veterinarian immediately to find the underlying cause of the condition so you can get proper medical treatment. Do not worry if your dog has sunken eyes too much because some of the causes are treatable with medication and are not life-threatening.
Some common reasons why your dog might have sunken eyes could be from eye pain or eye irritation which is very treatable. Sometimes a corneal ulceration or foreign body might get into the eye of your dog which could cause the eye to appear sunken in. A congenital defect of the globe or eyeball could be a reason also, which means that the dog was born with a smaller or defective globe. Horner’s syndrome, irreversible damage to the eye and a collapsed globe are also causes of the eye shrinkage. Dehydration, loss of orbital fat and muscle, loss of part of the innervation to the eye might also be a reason for the eye shrinkage. One breed that you seen eye shrinkage in the most is the long-nosed breed and this is a normal anomaly within that breed. These are some of the most common reasons for eye shrinkage in a dog and most of them are able to be fixed with proper medical treatment and medications. There are things you want to watch out for though which can alert you to whether or not your dog has a shrunken eye.
Drooping of the upper eyelid is a common sign of eye shrinkage and is commonly the first thing you will notice. A third eyelid protrusion might be present as well as muscle atrophy surrounding the eye. The eyelid might also appear to be turning inward on itself which is a sign of eye shrinkage also. These signs are indicative of eye shrinkage and should be taken seriously as it can mean a life-threatening medical condition. If you notice your dog suffers from any of these signs or symptoms then you should get them to the veterinarian immediately. The only way to help your dog is by being vigilant if you see any abnormal activities in or near the eye and evaluation by a medical professional is really essential for diagnosing and treating the problem.
If your dog is suffering from a shrunken eye the first thing the veterinarian will do is give your dog an ocular evaluation. A urinalysis, complete blood count and x-rays will also be used in confirming a diagnosis. Fluorescein evaluations will also be done of the cornea and the globe of the eye to determine the exact cause of the eye shrinkage. If Horner’s syndrome is thought to be present in your dog, then x-rays of the chest and neck will also be done to confirm the diagnosis. Chest and neck x-rays also might be done to rule out injuries and other possible medical conditions before other testing is done. Visual examinations are one of the best ways to get a diagnosis of what is causing the eye shrinkage. Once there is a confirmed cause of the eye shrinkage, the veterinarian will then know how to proceed with treatment.
There might be various treatments suggested to you to help your dog with his eye shrinkage. Various causes of the eye shrinkage will probably require various treatment options and they can include many methods. An intravenous fluid therapy might be ordered if the cause of the eye shrinkage is related to dehydration. This method will only be used in a dog that is unable to eat or drink because of their physical condition. An Elizabethan collar might also be used for treatment to prevent your dog from further injuring himself if his vision is not normal. Medications and eye droppers are often used as a treatment for eye shrinkage if the cause is due to a corneal abrasion or ulceration. Using a hot pack near the eye can also be a treatment option if the eye is inflamed and irritated which would also be a reason for the eye shrinkage. As you can tell, the methods of treatment mostly rely upon the cause of the eye shrinkage. There might be a combination of these methods being used to treat the eye shrinkage as well as the underlying medical condition or cause.
Since there is more than one reason why your dog might get eye shrinkage, there is obviously no real preventative treatment or prognosis. The best thing you can do if your dog is suffering from eye shrinkage is to follow all treatment advice given to you. Once you have taken your dog to the veterinarian and he has the cause of the eye shrinkage, make sure there is a treatment plan in place. Most causes of eye shrinkage are not life-threatening but there is always a chance that it could be something more serious. Most of the time the life-threatening complications come from vision problems which lead to loss of direction and trauma relating to poor vision. The only real preventative care you can give your dog is to check their eye constantly to make sure everything looks okay. Note any physical changes in the dog or the eye and talk to a veterinarian as soon as a problem develops.
Charles NS Soparkar, MD, PhD, “Enophthalmos”, Web MD