Bulldog Eye Care
What could be more important than the health of your Bulldog’s eyes! They’re so complex and beautiful, yet in some ways, surprisingly fragile. The eyes, possibly more than any other facet of the Bulldog anatomy cannot be left uncared for.
How sad to see a Bulldog suffering from the pains of infection, ulceration, dryness and other irritants and abnormalities of the eye! Many times because we, as humans, cannot directly feel the pain our Bulldog is dealing with, we sadly, fall short of fully understanding the sobering nature of the circumstances.
No matter the problem in eye care, it cannot wait! In any case of eye trouble, your Bulldog’s vision is enormously compromised when immediate care and attention is delayed. Permanent loss of vision is even possible. Considering the eyes contain the majority of available pain receptors in a Bulldog’s body, we just can’t allow pain and discomfort to go unchecked. An unhealthy pair of eyes will greatly diminish any Bulldog’s quality of life and desire to thrive. We owe it to our Bulldogs to provide them with the best eye care possible.
Healthy Bulldog Eyes
A healthy pair of squirrel finders should appear glossy and bright. Brown, black or sometimes a Bulldog’s eyes are blue, but they should never appear cloudy or hazy in color. The cornea is naturally transparent. Eyes which appear bloodshot or red point to an array of possible problems including: allergic reaction, dry eye, ulcers(scratch or gouge), conjunctivitis and Glaucoma.
The “whites” of the eyes should be just that, white, not yellow. Yellowing of the eye spells possible liver dysfunction. Be suspicious if your Bulldog is always rubbing his eyes, squinting or tearing. There should be no excessive tearing or crusty goobers on or around the eyes. The eyelids should not be inflamed or puffy. The eyelashes should not rub the eye balls.
Likely the most common problem in Bulldog eye care . This normally only happens in younger dogs. Have you spotted a round bulge on the inside corner of your Bully’s eye, reddish in color? The name(cherry eye) speaks for itself. Basically what happens is the tear duct or third lining of the eye lid becomes dislodged and protrudes from the eye. There may be increased tearing. Once a cherry eye has been discovered you can bet it popped out because of trauma to the eye area or as a result of horseplay. Don’t worry, although it can restrict eyesight and become irritated it’s not thought to be very painful.
Take a look on YouTube and you’ll see a few videos revealing how to push the cherry eye back into place. Does this trick work? Yes and no. In our experience it’s quite easy to massage the duct back in place, but most of the time the blasted thing just won’t stay. Nevertheless, because this technique is relatively simple and won’t cost you a dime. It’s absolutely worth a shot.
Here’s how to massage the cherry eye back into place: Apply some eye lubricant if available. Just below the cherry eye, gently push the lower eye lid up and over the cherry softly pressing it back toward the corner of the eye(toward the nose). Sometimes they go right in. Other times no luck, but if it’s your first time you’ll need to practice. After a few failed attempts, wait a day or two and try again.
Still no luck? This condition is typically fixed by your veterinarian in one of two ways. Either tack that ghoulish cherry eye down with a stitch or it can be surgically removed. The veterinarian will warn you that by only tacking the cherry eye down there is a chance of re occurrence. Considering this fact you’ll almost instantly think it most frugal and time saving to just cut the sucker out. However, careful study would reveal that removing the cherry eye will likely carry with it a few added problems.
It’s important you know this bad boy that popped out is responsible for producing much of your Bulldog’s tears. A loss in tear production can lead to chronic dry eye leaving the eye nearly helpless in flushing dirt and debri away and fighting infection. Believe me, severe dry eye is not a diagnosis you want to hear coming out of your vet’s lips. We’ll talk about dry eye further into the article.
A reasonable veterinarian should be able to surgically remove the cherry eye/s for around 80-100 dollars each. The operation requires anesthesia, but it’s an in and out procedure usually only taking 1-2 hours to complete. They’ll send you home with some topical antibiotics and a few pain pills. If you’re lucky, you might even be awarded one of those state of the art cones to wrap around your Bulldog’s neck! Recovery is almost instant. The previously mentioned method of repair is very similar price.
My absolute best advice for those not sure what to do with their Bulldog’s cherry eye is to have it tacked down. It’s important you find a Bulldog specific veterinarian who is skilled in the routine of simply “tacking” the cherry eye down.
I recently spoke with our vet concerning the subject and treatment for cherry eye has been much improved over the last few years. Dr. Grzenda of Animal Clinic Northview mentioned that removing the cherry eye should be considered a last resort. She added that after recent improvements in technique, the practice of tacking the cherry eye down is now a long lasting procedure and it usually lasts the life of the pet.
How a Vet Properly Repairs Cherry Eye
Talk with your vet and together, make an informed decision you both think is best for your Bulldog. I’ve been down this road before. I’ve learned that everything possible should be done to try and preserve the eyes in their original form for the long term health of your Bully.
Entropion is a rolling of the eyelid in toward the eye which then causes the eye lashes to scratch the eye with every blinking action. Talk about torture! A very peculiar genetic defect that comes on unannounced. Entropion is a very painful and irritating nuisance to any Bulldog.After prolonged rubbing of the lashes, the cornea sometimes appears to protrude or bulge from the rest of the eye and the blood vessels bulge.
With this dysfunction of the eyelashes, you’ll notice a milky cloud develop over the eye in part or full. This hazy appearance is actually Adema and it occurs when the thin layer of tissue in the eye becomes swollen and filled with fluid. Corneal Adema is his eye’s way of protecting itself from further damage and can be reversed temporarily with a few drops of steroids from your vet.
Surgery is required to correct this genetic eye defect. In surgery, your vet will remove the encroaching lashes once again allowing for a smooth blinking action between the eye and the lid. If you notice extra tearing, bloodshot or milky eyes and rubbing of the eyes, get your bully to the vet as soon as possible. The process is no sweat and is usually successful the first time around. However, failure to act immediately can result in eye damage or total vision loss. If you can’t get a vet appointment quickly, it’s recommended you purchase some eye lubricant to help guard against further damage of the eye.
(dis-ti-chi-asis) is very similar to Entropion except the lashes are usually shorter and tucked away deeper into the eye socket behind the eye lid. These things feel like needles poking the eye. They can be burned off with a laser by your veterinarian and once they’ve gone there usually isn’t a re occurrence.
Sicca/Chronic Dry Eye
This is a dastardly condition affecting a large number of Bulldogs. Characterized by the milky haze and gnarly goobers covering the eye. this is visually, one of the more gruesome looking eye problems a Bulldog might suffer from. You’ll notice the cornea and surrounding tissues of the eye have become inflamed. Increased blinking is another sign of dry eye.
What Causes Dry Eye
A few of the most common causes of chronic dry eye in Bulldogs include: nuerological disorders or disease of the tear gland, a congenital defect, and removal of the third eye lid or “cherry eye”. These are all possible explanations for the beginnings of sicca, but in my experience, most cases of chronic dry eye arise in direct correlation to the cherry eye removal. Earlier in the article I shared with you that extracting the cherry eye will inhibit or even cease natural tear production eventually leading to chronic dry eye. This fact alone should cause you to think twice before making any quick decisions regarding the health of your Bulldog’s eyes.
It’s unfortunate the procedure(cherry eye removal) is being so quickly recommended by veterinarians when it often aggravates the condition of the eyes by devastating natural tear production levels. I fear physicians aren’t making clear the importance of preserving this vital component of the Bulldog eye. Of course, I understand, sometimes there may not be any other option, but if I had my choice, I’d rather spend time every few days cleaning a cherry eye than following the relentless treatment regiments demanded for dry eye.
Dry Eye Treatment
Brace yourself…This is no easy fix. In fact, the treatment for dry eye in Bulldogs is an ongoing process. Once this condition is contracted most Bulldogs will need some type of ointment or eye drops applied multiple times per day, every day. Don’t use saline drops as they can agitate the problem.
Your best bet? Get an accurate diagnosis from your Veterinarian and go from there. Our oldest Bulldog Lily (9 yrs) suffers from mild, chronic dry eye. After her diagnosis we used gels like the puralube ointment(right), but found those to be almost completely useless. You could give these a try, but I think they’re a lost cause. Our vet gave us a prescription for a medicated gel called Optimmune, but it didn’t work either. We wondered if the Optimmune was making Lily’s dry eye worse.
Finally, after going through a couple tubes of the Optimmune, we spoke with our vet again. We were then given a bottle of Tacrolimus suspended in corn oil which worked wonders for Lily’s eyes! The results were clear and her eyes were back to normal in only a week!
When researching for this article, our veterinarian, in reference to chronic dry eye said, “what a terrible disease!” He expressed frustration and sadness in the fact that, “most owners can’t afford to buy the necessary eye ointment to treat their dog’s condition. These dog’s will undoubtedly succumb to blindness.” How sad!
Ask your vet for this Tacrolimus and apply a drop of the liquid medication in the eye two times per day. For best results, do not skip a day. Don’t even skip a single application.