A dog with a sore eye

Sasha is a Hungarian Vizla, a rare enough breed in Ireland, and she is a lovely good-natured dog.

A few days ago, her owner noticed that her left eye was watering more than normal…… He did the sensible thing, bathing it with a cool tea bag twice daily, and monitoring it closely. The following day, the eye was still watering, and now it was half closed.

Sasha kept trying to rub her head along the ground, and it was obviously very itchy. She was brought up to see me, and I examined her carefully.Eyes are a particular challenge to vets in general practice. The eye is a delicate structure with a very important function, and although most common problems are easy to treat, there are some conditions that require rapid, specialised treatment.

Such cases need to be referred to a vet with a special interest in ophthalmology, and sometimes this needs to be done instantly. There are some eye problems that require the correct treatment to be given within hours. Unnecessary delay can lead to the eye being permanently damaged.

I carried out a routine physical examination of Sasha’s eye, using an ophthalmoscope, which is basically a specialised magnifying glass with a built-in light source. I could see that the eye itself was perfectly healthy. Her problem was a simple one: conjunctivitis.I did one extra test: I placed a drop of a dye called “fluorescin” into her eye. This picks up any scratches or imperfections in the surface of the eyeball. The dye adheres to the tiny ulcers that can be associated with conjunctivitis. In Sasha’s case, the test was clear, with no scratches or ulcers.

She had a simple conjunctivitis, probably started off by running through a bush or undergrowth, and then complicated by a bacterial infection. She was given a course of antibacterial eyedrops, and I expect her to make a full recovery.

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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