Please note the treatment for ‘light burns’ and unconscious dogs. Not many dog owners give thought to their dog suffering from light burns, and the protection of the eyes of an unconscious dog is so important.

Common Types of Eye Injury:

Foreign objects: The eye usually looks red or bloodshot and it often waters heavily with tears. These tears may feel slippery to the touch. Irrigation is the best way to remove a foreign matter that you can see, from the eye. Hold the dog’s eye open as far as possible and irrigate from the inside corner of the eye toward the outside corner (from the nose to the ear). Proper irrigation is essential so that you do not wash the foreign object/matter further into the eye. If the dog will hold still for you, you may remove the gnat or whatever with a Q-tip very carefully. If the object/matter does not release and wash out, and you cannot get to it with a Q-tip, see your veterinarian immediately.

Contusions: These are closed wound injuries like a bruise. It may be apparent that the dog is not seeing properly out of the eye. The eye may be red or swollen. If the iris is not easily visible, or if you see blood in the eye between the cornea and the iris, you must see your vet immediately. This could be a symptom of a serious head or eye injury.

Abrasions: Foreign objects can cause minor and major scratches or cuts to the eye. Minor scratches are usually invisible. Major scratches/cuts will show on the cornea of the eye. The cornea should always be clear, smooth and wet. Do not touch the cornea nor try to remove any foreign matter off it. Close both the dog’s eye and keep closed with a bandage. Close each eye and cover with a sterile gauze pad and then wrap the head with a clean cloth to hold the gauze pads in place and go to your veterinarian immediately.

Lacerations: Look for cuts in the eyelids and the fibrous tissue that holds the eye in place. Consider a laceration a serious matter since a deep cut can allow vitreous humor to escape the eye. Vitreous humor is a clear jelly like substance and this gel allows normal lens function and it cannot be replaced and the body cannot restore it. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

Puncture wounds: Puncture wounds to the eye are common in dog fights. Look for a puncture wound to the eye and the eyelid. Since the eye tends to close itself over a puncture wound, the injury may appear to be an abrasion. You must consider the mechanism. Any puncture wound must be considered serious. Take great care to look for an imbedded or impaled object such as a tooth. Use loose dressings for puncture wounds with no imbedded object. Close both the dog’s eyes with this dressing. For an impaled object wound, place a two inch thick roll of gauze on each side of the opened eye and then place a small paper cup over these and bandage to hold in place until you can get to your veterinarian. Do not try to remove this imbedded object yourself.

Burns: With heat burns, do not try to examine the eye because the eyelids may be burned also. Apply a loose wet dressing and seek veterinarian help. For chemical burns, you must flush (irrigate) the eye properly, running the water into and out of the eye from the inside corner (nearest nose) to the outside corner of the eye (nearest the ear). Irrigate the eye for at least twenty minutes. After this cleaning, close the eye with a loose sterile dressing. Have your veterinarian check the eye for any serious damage.

Light burns: The extreme brightness of the sun as it is reflected off sand or snow can cause ‘light’ burns, as well as the flash of an arc welder. The onset of the symptoms of this is usually slow often taking hours after exposure before developing. These burns are very painful. Pawing at the eyes and/or continuous shaking of the head may be a good indication of the dog having suffered light burns. Keep the dog is a dark room and try to keep it from rubbing its eyes until these burns heal. Artificial tears may help soothe the pain.

Avulsions: An avulsed eye is an eye pulled from its socket. It is a rare occurrence but can happen after serious trauma to the dog’s head and face, or during a dog fight. Do not try to force the eye back into place. Place a small paper cup over the avulsed eye and hold in place with a bandage. Seek the help of your veterinarian immediately. An avulsed eye can allow vitreous humor to escape the eye.

Remember: If your bulldog is unconscious for any reason, it is most important to keep its eyes closed because an unconscious dog has no involuntary blinking action to sweep tears across the exposed portions of the eyes. An unprotected eye can dry out quickly and become damaged and this damage may be permanent. If the eyes will not stay closed, place sterile wet dressings over the closed eyes and tape/bandage in place.