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Enucleation Surgery for Dogs

What is Enucleation Surgery for Dogs?

Enucleation in dogs is a surgical procedure where one or both of a dog’s eyes are removed.

What does Enucleation Treat?

An enucleation procedure is typically recommended when a dog has severe eye disease or injury that cannot be treated with medication or other therapies. Common reasons for enucleation in dogs include:

  • Eye cancer 
  • Glaucoma
  • Severe injury or trauma to the eye 
  • Untreatable infections

Enucleation can help alleviate pain and prevent further damage or spread of the disease. Although it may seem like a drastic measure, it can improve a dog’s overall quality of life by eliminating chronic pain and discomfort.

What Happens During an Enucleation Surgery?

An Enucleation procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia, and the surgical site is thoroughly cleaned and prepared before the operation. The surgeon makes an incision around the eye and carefully removes the eye and surrounding tissues, including the eyelids and eye muscles. The area is then carefully sutured, and a protective bandage is applied to promote healing and prevent infection. In some cases, a prosthetic eye may be inserted to help improve the cosmetic appearance of the eye socket. After the surgery, dogs typically require close monitoring and follow-up care to ensure proper healing and recovery. This may include post-operative medications, special diets, and restricted activity to promote healing. With proper care and attention, most dogs can adapt well to their new vision after enucleation surgery.

How Effective is Enucleation for Dogs?

Enucleation is a highly effective procedure in dogs when performed by a skilled veterinarian. The success of the surgery depends on the underlying condition that led to the need for enucleation. In most cases, enucleation can help alleviate pain and prevent further damage to the eye or surrounding tissues. 


Additionally, after the surgery, dogs can adapt well to their new vision and can still enjoy a good quality of life. However, it’s important to note that enucleation is a serious procedure that requires proper care and attention during the recovery period. In general, with appropriate post-operative care and follow-up, enucleation can be a very effective treatment option for certain eye conditions in dogs.

How Much Does an Enucleation Cost?

The cost of enucleation for dogs can vary depending on several factors, such as the location, the severity of the eye condition, the size of the dog, and the veterinary clinic performing the surgery. In general, enucleation can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. The cost typically includes pre-operative exams, anesthesia, surgery, post-operative care, and any necessary medications. Some pet insurance plans may also cover a portion of the cost of enucleation, depending on the plan and the reason for the surgery. It’s important to discuss the cost and payment options with your veterinarian before the procedure to avoid any unexpected expenses. This range can vary anywhere from $475-$2,000.

How Can an Enucleation Be Prevented?

Enucleation in dogs is often necessary to treat certain eye conditions or injuries that cannot be resolved through other methods. However, there are steps that dog owners can take to help prevent the need for enucleation. These include:

  1. Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular visits to the veterinarian can help detect and treat eye conditions early before they become severe.
  2. Proper eye care: Keeping your dog’s eyes clean and free of debris can help prevent eye infections and other issues that could lead to enucleation.
  3. Protecting your dog’s eyes: Dogs that are prone to eye injuries should be fitted with protective goggles or other gear to prevent eye damage.
  4. Avoiding high-risk activities: Dogs that engage in high-risk activities, such as rough play, fighting, or hunting, are at a higher risk of eye injuries and should be closely monitored and trained accordingly.
  5. Breeding practices: Responsible breeding practices can help reduce the incidence of genetic eye conditions that may require enucleation. Dog owners should do their research and only purchase from reputable breeders that follow responsible breeding practices.

While enucleation cannot always be prevented, taking these steps can help reduce the risk and promote the overall health and well-being of your dog’s eyes.

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Glaucoma in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

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    What is Glaucoma in Dogs?

    Glaucoma is a painful eye illness in which a rising pressure behind the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP), damages the optic nerve. The increase in pressure then causes damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma must be treated early to prevent blindness.

    What Causes Glaucoma in Dogs?

    Primary glaucoma in dogs is caused causes a rise in intraocular pressure as the result of genetic defects in the eye’s drainage system.

    Secondary glaucoma develops as a result of another eye problem. Bleeding, edema and inflammation may ensue, scar tissue may develop, and fluid outflow may be hampered, if not completely stopped. Secondary glaucoma is more frequent in dogs than primary glaucoma. The following conditions may cause secondary glaucoma:

    • Lens anterior dislocation: This is a dislocation in which the displaced lens slips forward and physically blocks the drainage angle or pupil, trapping fluid behind it.
    • Uveitis: Uveitis or severe intra-ocular infections can cause debris and scar tissue to obstruct the drainage angle.
    • Bleeding inside the eye: If there is bleeding in the eye, a blood clot might block the aqueous fluid from draining.
    • Damaged Lens: Lens proteins that leak into the eye as a result of a damaged lens might produce an inflammatory reaction that results in edema and obstruction of the drainage angle.
    • Tumors: Tumors can physically restrict the iridocorneal angle.

    Who’s at Risk of Developing Glaucoma?

    Dogs who are at high risk for developing glaucoma are those who have genetic predisposition for glaucoma. The risk is the highest in certain dog breeds which include:

    • Cocker Spaniels
    • Beagle
    • Chow Chow
    • Poodle
    • Most Terriers
    • Samoyed
    • Dalmatian
    • Great Dane
    • Chihuahua
    • Siberian Husky
    • Basset Hounds

    But this doesn’t mean that other breeds can’t have primary glaucoma.

    What are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

    Glaucoma causes more acute discomfort in dogs than in humans. Since dogs do not display pain in the same capacity that humans do, it may be difficult to tell whether they are in pain. Clinical symptoms to watch for include:

    • Rubbing up against the floor or another object, or with the paw, might cause eye discomfort.
    • Eye irritability
    • Corneal cloudiness
    • Squinting
    • Tearing
    • Light avoidance
    • Inadequate blink response
    • Eyelid fluttering
    • The size of the pupils appears to vary.
    • Manifestation of vessels in the white of the eye
    • Swollen, bulging eye
    • Vision issues such as bumping into items, having difficulties finding things, and walking cautiously

    How Can Glaucoma in Dogs Be Prevented?

    The prevention for glaucoma in dogs differ for primary and secondary glaucoma.

    Primary glaucoma is not preventable due to it being hereditary but the signs should be looked out for as to stop the progression of the disease and prevent blindless or eye loss.There are things you can do to try and slow the degernatation of your dog’s eyes and reduce the chances of glaucoma:

    • A tight collar or harness can cause strain on a dog’s neck and increase the inter-cerebral or intraocular pressure so keep an eye on the tightness and loosen as needed.
    • Reduce stresses in your pet’s surroundings can aid in the management of oxidative damage throughout the body, including the eyes.
    • Antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamins E and C, and nutraceuticals can all be used to lessen the amount of damage to the eye’s cells.
    • Make sure your vet does testing for ocular pressure during your dog’s wellness visits. This is especially important for senior dogs and those at higher risk.
    • Catching the signs of glaucoma early can help prevent further progression and a permanent condition.

    When it comes to secondary glaucoma, the best ways to prevent glaucoma are to avoid injuries to the eyes, staying on top of any health issues and recieving treatment for any eye conditions immediately.

    How is Glaucoma Diagnosed?

    When it comes to treating glaucoma, time is of the essence in terms of diagnosing and then treating. Dogs should be taken to the vet if they are showing signs of glaucoma. Your veterinarian will conduct an opthalmogic exam and possibly refer you and your dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist.

    To measure the IOP, one type of tonometer shoots a puff of air into the eye. Another version measures pressure by pressing a tiny plastic disk against the eyeball. To keep the dog comfortable throughout the test, a drop of anesthesia is frequently administered prior.

    When there is an eye abscess, injury, or tumor, an X-ray or ultrasound may be performed to provide a better understanding of the region around the eye. The pupil responds slowly to light, the blink reflex is weak or nonexistent, the cornea is swollen or clouded, the eye is red, irritated, tearing, and the dog may squint.

    What is the Treatment for Glaucoma?

    There isn’t a cure for glaucoma but it can be managed in different ways depending on the severity.


    When it comes to medication for glaucoma, they are usually given with the goal of reducing pressure and returning the eye to normal quickly to try and keep the dog’s eyesight. Analgesics may also be prescribed to help reduce pain and keep the dog comfortable. In cases of extreme glaucoma, dogs may be held at the hospital so they can recieve injectable medication to decrease the pressure more quickly.


    Surgery for glaucoma invovles removing the eye which can often be the only solution for cases in which the pressure can’t be reduced and the condition keeps progressing to the point of the damage being beyond treating. The condition is painful and often times, removing the eye is the most humane option.

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    Grid Keratotomy Surgery

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      What is a Grid Keratotomy?

      Photo Credit: Boxer Forum

      A grid keratotomy is a surgical procedure involving the outer layer, known as the epithelium, and stroma, known as the thickest layer of the cornea. The procedure is minimally invasive and treats chronic ulcers on the surface of the dog’s eye. 

      The ulcers on the eye are rather painful and can change in size and shape over time. The purpose of the grid keratotomy is to stimulate the damaged outer layer of the eye to attach back to the eye and restore it back to its normal state.

      What Does a Grid Keratotomy Treat in Dogs?

      Chronic ulcers on the surface of the dog’s eye generally stem from physical trauma. The  ulcers typically cause constant discharge and tearing from the eye as well as swollen redness. In some instances, topical and oral treatments may be used as the first route before a grid keratotomy is performed. 

      What Happens During a Grid Keratotomy?

      Photo Credit: Veterian Key

      Since a grid keratotomy is minimally invasive, general anesthesia is not required. In preparation for the procedure, your dog will be sedated and topical anesthesia will be applied using drops on the affected eye. 

      Once the patient is prepped, an eyelid speculum will be used to prevent the dog’s eyelids from moving. Any loose epithelium tissue will be removed utilizing a cotton swab against the surface of the eye. Your dog will be restricted in order to prevent any movement and a needle will be used to prick the eye. Using a 20 gauge needle, multiple pricks and scratches are made through the stroma, or the thickest layer of the cornea. These pricks and scratches stimulate the epithelium, or the eye’s outer layer, to heal by making it easier to reattach to the stroma. 

      How Much Does a Grid Keratotomy Cost?

      A grid keratotomy can range anywhere from $500 up to $1,000. Since general anesthesia isn’t required, this helps to keep the cost down. However, it’s important to note that cost is also dependent upon follow-up visits and care necessary. In some cases, multiple procedures may need to be performed, increasing the overall cost of treatment. 

      How Can a Grid Keratotomy Be Prevented?

      Unfortunately, some dogs are predisposed to chronic eye ulcers that lead to the need for a grid keratotomy. Boxers and other breeds of dogs who have bulging eyes are especially prone to eye ulcers and eye issues. 


      It’s also important to have your dog’s eye ulcer assessed sooner rather than later, which may prevent further issues from occurring. 

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      Entropion in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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        What is Entropion in Dogs?

        Photo Credit: VCA Hospitals

        Entropion is the inward curling of the eyelids. This causes irritation and discomfort because the hairy eyelid skin comes into close touch with the eye surface and eyelashes rub against the eye. Both eyes are usually afflicted in the majority of instances. It is most commonly detected in puppies under the age of one year. 

        What Causes Entropion in Dogs?

        There are two main causes of entropion:

        Primary Entropion

        Primary entropion is the genetic predisposition to develop the condition. This may either be a result of being a predisposed breed or having a hereditary history of entropion. Physical characteristics to consider that can cause entropion to include:

        • The shape of the skull
        • The shape of the bone cavity that contains the eyeball
        • Gender
        • Ample skin folds and wrinkles around the eyes
        • The length of the eyelid

        Acquired Entropion

        Acquired entropion is the result of trauma to the eye. Forms of trauma that can cause entropion in dogs include:

        • Eye injuries
        • Eyelid scarring 
        • Nerve damage
        • Systemic dermatological conditions

        Who’s at Risk of Developing Entropion?

        Entropion is a hereditary condition and is more likely to develop in certain breeds. The most typically afflicted dogs are those with large facial wrinkles and a “droopy eye” appearance. These breeds include English Bulldogs, Shar-Peis, Pugs, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Chow Chows, and Rottweilers. 

        What are the Symptoms of Entropion in Dogs?

        Most dogs who have entropion ​​will squint, close their eyes, and weep excessively (epiphora), while some may develop a mucoid discharge. Many flat-faced dogs with medial entropion (involvement of the corner of the eyes towards the nose) show no symptoms of pain. Here are all the symptoms of entropion in dogs:

        • Eye redness/conjunctivitis
        • Squinting
        • Apparent swelling around eyes
        • Excessive tearing
        • Eye discharge
        • Rubbing at eyes
        • Corneal ulcers
        • Excessive blinking/blepharospasms

        How is Entropion Diagnosed?

        It’s fairly easy to spot entropion but a thorough examination is required before going forward with any treatments. ​​A veterinarian would usually anesthetize the eye (since it is often painful) and stain the cornea to assess its integrity or ulceration. After general vets have identified and assessed the severity of the problem, ophthalmologists are frequently consulted, especially in severe cases.

        What is the Treatment for Entropion?

        Photo Credit: South Eastern Animal Hospital

        If entropion is present in dogs at a young age, vets may try something called “lid tacking”, which is a very minimally invasive procedure compared to surgery. A stitch is introduced above, below, or both the lids in this approach (depending on the number of lids impacted) in the hopes that the lids would develop in a “rolled out” fashion. In the long run, this method isn’t always effective

        The optimal entropion treatment depends on the severity of the condition, although entropion surgery is frequently required to correct the lid deformity. This form of plastic surgery (known as “blepharoplasty”) needs the precise excision of a crescent-shaped section of tissue above the injured lid to rotate the lid outwards. In some dogs, surgery is necessary, particularly in those who have been severely injured or in young, maturing pups whose lids may change in form as they age.

        For dogs with extensive skin folds over the eyes, “brow-raising” treatments, which need permanent implants, provide an alternative to entropion surgery. This approach isn’t commonly utilized, and its effectiveness is currently being researched.

        Can You Prevent Entropion?

        Entropion, unfortunately, cannot always be prevented due to the predisposition as a result of a dog’s physical traits which are a part of their breed.

        The only thing you can do is try to catch it as soon as possible so that the symptoms don’t get worse and the recovery proceeds as easily as possible.

        If your dog comes from a breed that is prone to entropion, you should pay special attention to his eye health. Keep them clean and take them to the vet for checks on a regular basis.

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        How to Prevent Common Conditions that Cause Eye Pain in Dogs

        hand putting eye drops into the eye of a shit zu with glaucoma
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          There are several conditions that can cause eye pain in dogs. Left untreated, eye pain can worsen and lead to more serious issues. Read below to learn about a few common conditions that cause eye pain in dogs and what you can do to take preventative measures: 


          hand putting eye drops into the eye of a shit zu with glaucoma
          Photo Credit:

          What is Glaucoma? 

          Glaucoma is a condition that occurs when there is an imbalance in the production and drainage of fluid in the eye. This imbalance causes a buildup of fluid that increases eye pressure to abnormal and unhealthy levels. This increased pressure may lead to the destruction of the retina and optic disk. The optic disk is the portion of the eye where the optic nerve enters which carries visual information from the eye to the brain.

          How Can You Prevent Glaucoma in Dogs? 

          Age is one of the largest factors when it comes to the degeneration of the eye structure. As your dog gets older, the fluid drainage system in the eye becomes weaker. 

          Providing supplemental antioxidants, vitamins E, C, beta-carotene, lutein, astaxanthin, and rutin that promote eye health and reduce damage to cells in the eye may help prevent glaucoma. Avoid the use of tight collars on the neck that can increase intraocular pressure. Instead, use harnesses that focus on the torso.

          Signs of Glaucoma in Dogs: 

          • Watery discharge from the eye 
          • Rubbing or pawing at the eye 
          • Bulging of the eyeball; whites of the eye may turn red 
          • Cloudy, bluish appearance to the eye 
          • Dilated pupil; or pupil does not respond to light 

          Lens Luxation 

          graphic of lens luxation in dogs
          Photo Credit: VCA Hospitals

          What is Lens Luxation?

          Lens luxation is a condition in dogs caused by a weakness in the threads holding the lens of the eye in place. Sometimes, this weakness may even lead to breaking causing the lens to dislocate from its position completely. The lens can fall backward into the eye which is referred to as a posterior luxation. However, the lens can also fall forward into the eye, referred to as an anterior luxation. When an anterior luxation occurs, the drainage of the fluid is blocked. Posterior luxation of the eye tends to not cause too much discomfort, while anterior luxation can be extremely painful and may even lead to permanent blindness. 

          How Can You Prevent Lens Luxation in Dogs?

          Lens luxation is hereditary in some dogs and is most commonly observed in terrier breeds, Shar Peis, and Border Collies. If you own one of these breeds, be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort or change in the appearance of the eye. Especially in these breeds,  your dog should be taken to regular eye examinations with your veterinarian to monitor eye health. Your veterinarian can check your dog’s eyes regularly so that any increase in intraocular pressure or eye disorder is diagnosed and treated quickly and correctly. 

          Signs of Lens Luxation in Dogs: 

          • Sudden change in the appearance of the eye; the eye may appear white 
          • Keeping their eyes closed more than usual 
          • Increased tears 
          • Inflammation of the eyes, showing cloudiness and possibly redness 
          • Reluctance to exercise 
          • Depression or lethargy 


          gloved hand on the face of rotweiler with conjunctivitis
          Photo Credit: Better Pet

          What is Conjunctivitis? 

          Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the mucous membrane in the eye, called the conjunctiva tissue. The conjunctiva covers the eyeball and lines the eyelids. Dogs have a third eyelid, referred to as a nictitating membrane, in the corner of their eye, which is also covered by the conjunctiva. There are a number of items that cause conjunctivitis in dogs including, viral infections, immune-system-related disorders, tumors of the eyelid and conjunctiva, dry eye, and trauma to the eye or irritation from foreign bodies entering the eye.  Other disorders of the eye may lead to conjunctivitis as well, such as glaucoma

          How Can You Prevent Conjunctivitis in Dogs? 

          Conjunctivitis in dogs is fairly common. Some causes of Conjunctivitis are virtually impossible to prevent. However, other causes may be prevented. Avoid letting your dog put their head out of your moving car’s window. The wind can irritate a dog’s eyes and debris can lead to irritation and Conjunctivitis or other issues in the eye. In addition, keeping up to date with vaccines, such as distemper, prevents viral infections which can lead to Conjunctivitis. 

          Signs of Conjunctivitis in Dogs: 

          • Pawing at the eye or excessive blinking/squinting 
          • Eyelids and surrounding area of the eye are swollen and red 
          • Green discharge from the eye 
          • Redness in the white of the eye 
          • Lethargy 

          It’s important to be aware of your dog’s eyes’ normal appearance to be able to closely monitor any changes. If you think your dog may be experiencing eye pain, consult a veterinarian. Visit our Specialist Directory to locate an Ophthalmology Specialist.