When The Eye Pops Out Of Its Socket In Dogs – How Should You Handle This?

The eyes in dogs are normally securely placed and well protected in the bony cavity called the orbita on both sides of the skull. Many muscles, connective tissue and both eyelids hold the eyeball tightly in place.

However, an eye can pop out of its place after a sudden and strong blow to the skull such as the type that a dog involved in a car accident might receive.

In short-faced dog breeds with breed-specific short jaws and nose, such as Pugs, Cavalier King Charles or Llhaso Apsos, the eyeballs are already in a more protruded position, because the bony cavity is anatomically rather shallow in these breeds. In these dogs, a rough grip of the scruff or pulling at the lead when wearing a neck collar can be enough to displace an eye.

A prolapsed eyeball usually looks very frightening and many dog owners cannot bear to look at it without getting sick.

The good news is that a displaced eye can in most cases be reconnected and saved as long as it is treated by a veterinarian as quickly as possible. More than fifty percent of these patients have an excellent chance of making a full recovery without any impaired vision or blindness.

Crucial factors in determining the extent of recovery are time, whether or not the optic nerve is injured and whether the muscles are still functioning. Relocation of the eyeball needs to be dealt with within one hour to ensure the fullest recovery.

If your dog suffers from a protruded eyeball you need to take immediate action.

Call your veterinary clinic and tell them that you have got an emergency. Protect and keep the eyeball moistened. Use a lint-free, very clean cloth – the best is sterile gauze. Soak it in warm and clean water or better still, in sterile contact lens solution, and put it very gently onto the eyeball.

Keep the gauze or cloth moistened during the journey to the vet clinic. If your dog won’t let you put anything over the eye you can also fill a small, clean spray bottle with the contact lens solution or clean water and keep it moist by spraying the fluid often onto his eyeball. Your veterinarian will need to place the eye back into the eye socket, which is a surgical procedure.

The after care at home will usually involve instillation of eye drops for a few days.

If the eyelids have been temporarily closed with stitches, your pet will need to wear a protective buster collar for a few days to prevent him from rubbing and pawing his eye. Also, you may want to take precautions to prevent future occurrences, especially if your dog is a flat and short-faced breed.

Grabbing your dog by the scruff or the neck collar and even a hug around the neck will raise the eye’s inner pressure directly, which again can cause dislocation. Therefore, if you need to gently restrain your dog, do so by holding his muzzle with one hand and folding your other arm around his shoulders.

Instead of a neck collar use a harness when having your dog on a leash. A harness will help to avoid putting pressure on his neck, when he pulls on the lead.