Lexi's Corneal Ulcer

Lexi is an 8-year-old Boxer that came to the clinic for a sore right eye.  She had started squinting her eye, and since her owner knew that all eye issues should be seen right away, she came in to see the vet. 

It was found that she had a 5 x 3mm corneal ulcer, or scratch, on the inside part of her eye.  A corneal ulcer is an abrasion on the clear part of the front of the eye.  There are several reasons these ulcers can happen including trauma (for example from a cat scratch or running into a stick), an eyelash that grows the wrong way, or underactive tear production. 

Lexi's corneal ulcer was diagnosed by putting a yellow stain in her eye, which makes the abrasion shine bright green under a black light.

Most of the time, providing the ulcer is not deep, the problem can be treated with antibiotic eye ointment and pain medication.  But, in some cases, the ulcer does not heal as expected and needs further assistance to be able to heal. 

Unfortunately, Boxers are prone to developing ulcers that do not heal with traditional treatment.  After a week of treatment, Lexi's eye was examined and the special stain was put in again, and it was found that the ulcer was not healing.  Some additional drops and antibiotic tablets were added to her treatment plan.  Additionally, the surface of the eyeball was "roughed up" using a cotton tip.  This was to get rid of any dead corneal cells.

At the next eye check, it was found that the ulcer was even larger, so Lexi needed a special procedure called a grid keratotomy.  This procedure involves using a needle to make small marks in the corneal surface, which enables new corneal cells to "stick" to the eye.  Although it sounds scary, it is a very effective procedure, and usually can be done with some numbing drops and light sedation; general anesthesia is not necessary. 

Lexi was such a good patient for this procedure.  She didn't even flinch.  Within a week her corneal ulcer had completely healed. 

As with this case, all eye issues ought to be seen by a vet without delay.  Many problems can be treated with medicine, but some need more extensive procedures.

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