Sunday, May 31, 2015

Facial Wounds. How to treat an eye wound as if it's your last good eye.

It might not look like a big deal,
but this wound under the left eye was infected causing Penny
to not eat and be lethargic.
It was also very very painful

This is Penny. She is a mild mannered senior girl who is true to her genetics and therefore is a bit temperamental and unforgiving if you challenge her for food. Then, in typical beagl-obsessive form she remembers she has an opinion and she growls with little forethought to potential consequence.

Such was the scenario last week. Penny growled and her housemate reminded her that she was not as quick as she thought.

Subsequently a swipe and a tooth wound up near her eye. This is not an unusual reason for a vet visit. In the trenches we call it "LDBD' or, little dog vs big dog. Penny's big problem was that she only had one eye, the other had been removed many years before. She, like all dogs who lose one eye was able to get along easily. But, it also meant that her remaining eye needed a little extra TLC to keep it healthy and maintain vision.

Almost every single bite wound ends up as an infection. If your dog gets into a fight and there is an open bleeding wound I recommend that you assume it is going to become infected and ask your vet to provide the following;
  • Clean the wound. A dirty wound, say one with gravel, or dirt should be cleaned with copious amounts of water. At the clinic we typically use a large volume syringe to flush the dirt and debris out of the wound. I know many people go directly to the hydrogen peroxide for wounds. It is not my first choice in almost any situation. Water really is the safest and easiest.
  • Only a few cleaners are safe for use around the eye. At the clinic we use dilute betadine solution. Betadine should be diluted to a light ice tea color, this is about a one part betadine to four parts water.
  • All topical antibiotics for use around the eye should be made for use in this area. Most of the over the counter topical antibiotics are not safe for around the eye.
  • An oral  antibiotic is almost always indicated. I prescribed an oral broad spectrum antibiotic with a good skin penetration.for 14 days. 
  • Pain management is indicated for at least 3-5 days. I prescribed Penny a NSAID for 7 days. (Please only use a veterinary prescribed analgesic. Many over the counter and human pain medicines are toxic to dogs).
  • An e-collars is recommended. If Penny's eye wound hurts she is very likely to rub it. One swipe of her foot and the delicate cornea can be injured. Our whole goal is to protect and minimize any possible damage to her remaining eye.

Penny's treatment plan consisted of antibiotics, pain relief, and protecting the eye. She healed quickly and without incident. Her cost of care was $167 to include all of the previously mentioned goods and services.

I write this blog with  the sole intention of helping people understand and help their pets live longer, happier, and healthier lives. If your pet is in need of help you can find a whole community of caring advocates at Pawbly is free for all to use and open to  anyone who cares about improving the lives of animals. 

If you live in the Northern Maryland area you can find me at the clinic trying to save the world in person one wet nose at a time. Jarrettsville Veterinary Center is a full service veterinary hospital with a big heart and an even bigger soul. Come by 7 days a week and say 'hello!'

I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.


  1. Replies
    1. ThankYou! I appreciate that you took the time to read and comment.

    2. Thank you for your article & pics. It will help me be smart in seeking vet treatment for the same injury. My Chewy is almost 16. We love him very much.

  2. That's interesting to know that bites usually end up with an infection. I'm glad Penny's owners brought her in right away since she only has one eye.

    1. Penny has wonderful parents. They, like me, have to deal with beagle food obsession. It is inevitable that a growl over protecting food will occasionally erupt. Lucky for me my other dog really doesn't care that much about food and he walks away. There may be grumbling but there aren't altercations.
      Maybe Penny needs a set of doggles to protect her other eye if she doesn't stop her
      Thanks for reading!