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Prolapse of the Eye

By Kirk N. Gelatt, VMD, DACVO, Emeritus Distinguished Professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida

Acute prolapse or proptosis of the eye occurs as a result of trauma. It is common in dogs and infrequent in cats. Prognosis depends on the extent of the trauma, the breed of dog, depth of the orbit, duration of the proptosis, resting pupil size, condition of the exposure keratitis, and other periocular damage. In cats, proptosis usually results from severe trauma to the head; often, other facial bones are fractured. The globe should be replaced as soon as possible if the animal’s physical condition will permit induction of general anesthesia (see Traumatic Proptosis). Treatment consists of systemic antibiotics and occasionally corticosteroids, combined with topical antibiotics and mydriatics. Although the prognosis for retention of vision is guarded, the globe is usually saved. Return of vision occurs in ~50% of dogs but is rare in cats.

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