Ocular proptosis in dogs How to act?

Spread the love


Proptosis is the protrusion of the eyeball out of its orbit. As it is easy to imagine, it is a veterinary emergency that has to make us seek assistance immediately.

There are various causes, such as trauma, tumors or abscesses, that can cause the eye to exit its place. In addition, there are races more prone to suffer it. Let’s see in detail everything related to proptosis.

Index of contents

  • 1 Which dogs suffer from proptosis?
  • 2 What causes proptosis?
    • 2.1 Retrobulbar abscess
    • 2.2 Retrobulbar hematoma
    • 2.3 Retrobulbar tumor
    • 2.4 Glaucoma
  • 3 Why is proptosis serious?
  • 4 What do I do if my dog ​​has proptosis?
  • 5 What is the treatment of proptosis?

Which dogs suffer from proptosis?

Proptosis or dislocation is a disorder that any dog ​​can suffer, but some will have a greater predisposition. In fact, for some breeds, such as brachycephalicIt can be said to be a common problem. They are those with big eyes and bulging eyes. For example, Boston terrier, Pug, Pekingese or Maltese.

What causes proptosis?

This eye damage is usually a consequence of bites from other animals or trauma in the area, such as blows or runs over. But it is that, even a struggle with a dog belonging to a risk group, can cause the eyeball to come out of its place. For example, when we try to give them a pill and they resist.

Related content  Canine Perichondritis - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

In non-brachycephalic dogs the trauma has to be much stronger to achieve protrusion. Other causes are abscesses, bruises, or tumors they are located just behind the eye. If they are large enough or growing, they are able to project the balloon out of orbit. Finally, glaucoma is also a cause.

Retrobulbar abscess

This abscess is the accumulation of pus that occurs behind the eye. It causes a lot of pain and develops quickly. We can suspect it because it causes inflammation of the periocular area, which, in addition to pain, makes it difficult for the dog to open and close its mouth. To treat it, it is necessary for the vet to drain it, to extract all the pus.

Retrobulbar hematoma

This bruise is made up of blood clots and will be located behind the eyeball. It appears suddenly and may be due to a blow to the head or the existence of some blood disorder. Treatment will depend on the cause.

Retrobulbar tumor

It is the one that grows in retrobulbar space, behind the eye. As it usually does slowly, the protrusion will be gradual. Unlike abscesses or bruises, tumors do not appear to be painful.


A chronic glaucoma It is another cause of protosis because it is a condition that can increase the size of the eye, making it protrude. It is a serious disease, cause of blindness. It produces an increase in intraocular pressure that degenerates the optic nerve and the retina.

In chronic cases the dog loses vision and, since the eye has increased in size and is protruded, its extraction may be recommended to avoid injuries to the cornea, to which, due to its characteristics, it will be prone.

Related content  How to teach a puppy to go to the toilet


Why is proptosis serious?

When the eyeball is projected out of the socket, there is a risk that the eyelids will close behind it, preventing the eye from returning to its place. In addition, the posterior area of ​​the eye will become inflamed, which also makes it difficult for it to regain its normal position.

Proptosis can always cause loss of vision. Hence its extreme gravity and the importance of going immediately to the nearest veterinary center. In conclusion, it’s not a problem where we can stay home waiting for it to get better on its own.

What do I do if my dog ​​has proptosis?

Yes or yes we have to go to a vet. For this, it is advisable to cover the affected eye with a damp cloth or gauze. With this we intend to prevent the desiccation that will occur when the eyeball is exposed and without flickering to protect it. Of course, we have to prevent the dog from touching its paws.

If the nearest veterinary clinic is more than half an hour away and we know how to do it, we can try to put the eye in its place ourselves. If this is not the case or if you try and do not get it, you should not insist and seek professional assistance.

What is the treatment of proptosis?

It is essential to reposition the eye in its orbit, but before, since proptosis can be due to severe trauma, the general condition of the animal must be checked. In this way it is possible to know the risk you run when administering anesthesia. Meanwhile, the eye is kept covered and moist to reduce inflammation.

Related content  First aid for intoxicated dogs

Furthermore, the clinician, considering the characteristics of proptosis, since the damage can be more or less severe, must assess whether or not it is possible to recover the functionality of the organ.

There are several surgical techniques to choose from. If it is not the first time that the dog has proptosis or the veterinaryn considers that there is a high risk of recurrence, he may recommend an operation with the aim of avoiding it.