Eye Problems in Bulldogs
The most important thing to know about bulldog eye problems is to come get an eye examination and treatment early. If your bulldog is squinting or rubbing the eyes, call for the first available appointment. It may not be a serious problem. But if it is a serious problem, early treatment will make a big difference in the comfort of your bulldog, the ease or difficulty in curing the eye and the success of treatment.
We have very good eye specialists here in San Antonio. If you are every concerned about the progress we are making with an eye problem, we will be happy to refer you to a specialist. Please, never hesitate to ask about a referral.
Dogs have three eyelids, upper lid, lower lid and the third eyelid. The third eyelid is under the lower eyelid in the corner toward the nose. There is a gland under the third eyelid. If this gland is swollen, it pops out as a little pink “cherry” in the inside corner of the eye. If we catch this early, we can show you how to replace the gland under the third eyelid and have you medicate the eye to get the gland to shrink back to normal size. If we are not successful in getting the gland to return to normal size and position, the cherry eye will need surgery.
There are two methods to surgically treat cherry eyes. We can remove the gland with laser surgery or we can refer your bulldog to a veterinary ophthalmologist to have the gland sutured back in place. Once a dog has had a cherry eye, he has an increased chance of having "dry eyes" later in life no matter what the treatment. Studies (in other breeds) have shown a lower chance of "dry eyes" with the suture down surgery.
Entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls in till the hairy outside part of the lid rubs on the cornea (clear part of the eye). We treat entropion with surgery to roll the eyelid back out to normal position.
A bulldog that is squinting or rubbing the eyes may have a corneal ulcer.
Injury to the cornea (clear part of the eye) must be treated early. If a corneal injury is not treated, it becomes an ulcer into the cornea. This can progress to blindness or even loss of the eye. New mild ulcers are treated medically. More serious ulcers are treated with surgery. Some difficult ulcers will require extended treatment for weeks.
A bulldog with a pusy discharge in the eye and dry crust around the eye might have keratoconjuntivitis sicca, called dry eyes or KCS. KCS is caused by the tear glands not producing enough tears. Early treatment can get the tear glands to increase tear production. If treatment is not started soon enough, the tear glands will not respond. Then it is necessary to put artificial tears in the eyes several times a day the rest of the dog’s life.