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Prolapse of the Eye in Dogs

By Kirk N. Gelatt, VMD, DACVO, Emeritus Distinguished Professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida
David G. Baker, DVM, MS, PhD, DACLAM, Director and Professor, Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University

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Severe prolapse (slipping out of place) and/or bulging of the eye can be caused by trauma. It is common in dogs. The chances of a good outcome depend on the severity of the injury, the breed of dog, depth of the eye socket, the condition of the eye and how long it was displaced, and other damage near the eye. The eyeball should be put back in place surgically as soon as possible if the animal is in good enough health to have general anesthesia. Treatment includes antibiotics (given by mouth or injection, as well as topical ointments or creams) to prevent infection. Occasionally other medications are needed as well.

A dog’s eyeball might bulge or come out of the eye socket entirely after an injury. Prompt surgery can save the eyeball and sometimes prevent blindness.

Although recovery of sight cannot be guaranteed, the eyeball can usually be saved. Return of vision occurs in about half of dogs. If such an accident happens to your dog, immediately take your pet to the veterinarian and, following surgery, carefully follow the recommended treatment program.

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