Abscess Behind the Eye in Dogs: Lola’s Price for Chewing on Rose Bushes

How likely are you to figure that an abscess behind the eye could have anything to do with what goes into the mouth?

The mouth and the eyes are different things, aren’t they? They are not in any way connected, are they?

Abscess Behind the Eye in Dogs: Lola's Price for Chewing on Rose Bushes

Lola’s story

Lola is a Golden Retriever puppy. Like most dogs her age, she has to try chewing on everything at least once. Usually, after testing things out, some passed as good to chew, and some did not.

Rose bushes aren’t one of the things you’d figure would make it on the okay-to-chew list. With Lola, however, somehow they did–thorns and all. Lola thought it was an excellent idea.

First signs

All seemed well until Lola lost interest in some of her favorite biscuits. That was strange but not strange enough–she was still eating her food and drinking normally.

Until one day when she yelped when she tried to open her mouth.

Knowing about Lola’s habit of chewing sticks and roses, her dad took her to a veterinarian immediately.

At the veterinarian

The first thing Lola’s veterinarian wanted to rule out was masticatory myositis. Myositis is an inflammation of muscle tissue–in this case, the masticatory, or chewing, muscles. It is a painful condition during which chewing and even opening the mouth hurts.

But that was not what was ailing Lola.

With negative tests for the first suspected culprit, Lola’s veterinarian decided to take x-rays of her skull. He was looking for foreign bodies or fractures.

Eye-popping discovery

Suddenly, while she was still on the exam table, one of Lola’s eyes seemed to have bulged out of its socket. What on Earth happened?

Lola’s dad was quite distressed. When he dropped Lola off, she was a happy, normal dog with no worry in the world other than opening her mouth. And now her eye was protruding from her head.

The veterinarian was just as shocked and confused as Lola’s dad. That is not a normal effect of either anesthesia or imaging. The veterinarian has never seen anything like this happen before.

At the specialty hospital

The bulging eye brought Lola to a specialty hospital for a CT scan. Hopefully, that could offer some answers. And, indeed, it did.

The CT scan revealed a pocket of fluid behind Lola’s bulging eye–and an abscess. This most likely happened after a thorn burrowed into her tissues.

The abscess extended down the side of the face to the jaw, which explains why she had pain opening her mouth

Dr. Kara Gornik, Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals

As a result, Lola was also blind in the affected eye.

Having a diagnosis, the veterinarians drained Lola’s abscess and put her on a long course of antibiotics.

It took six weeks, but then Lola found complete relief. Her eye returned to where it belonged, and she could open her mouth without pain.

Lola did not learn that chewing on rose bushes was terrible, but her parents did.

Original story:
Case Solved: Retrobulbar Abscess

Related articles:
Bulging Eyes in Dogs: When Your Dog’s Bulging Eyes Are Not Normal, And You Should Be Concerned

Categories: AbscessBulging eyesConditionsDog health advocacyEye diseasesForeign bodies

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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