Some dogs have, for lack of a prettier term, "buggy" eyes. Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Boston Terriers, and Shih-Tzus are some decent examples. This morning I learned that those buggy eyes can be more than just funny-looking.

A gentleman brought his little Pekingese/Terrier cross into the clinic where I work part-time as a technician this morning. The dog's owner had tripped over a baby gate, (that the dog happened to be sleeping beside,) fell, and landed on her 14 year old critter. ("Chestnut," in case you care, though there's no reason that you should.) Anyway, the injury the dog sustained as a result of being landed on was one I found almost too amazing to look away from.

Apparently, the pressure the dog's body withstood when she was fallen on was heavy-duty enough to cause a complete eyeball prolapse. In other words, this little character's right eyeball was hanging entirely out of her head, dangling by a gory strand of optic nerve, and bobbing around freakishly when the dog moved her head. Just as surprisingly, the dog was showing no physical or behavioral indications of pain whatsoever, thanks to the fact that the nerves involved had been severed. There was a reasonable amount of blood dripping from the hole in her head where her eye belonged, and admittedly, that added to the horrific-ness of the situation. (As if it wasn't hellacious enough!)

Sadly, "Chestnut"'s eye could not be saved, and it was removed surgically. But upon discussing the case with the attending veterinarian, I learned that eyeball prolapse, although horrible to look upon, is in fact reasonably common among buggy-eyed breeds. In some cases, when the prolapse is a little less extreme, the eye can actually be pushed back into the socket and the lid stitched shut to hold it in place until the optic nerve heals and returns to its normal length. Then, the sutures in the eyelid can be removed, and many times, the dog in question will retain his or her eyesight in that eye.

Egads, what a messy morning.

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