Why does my pet need to have the eye removed?

There are many different cases in which eye removal is warranted. The most common reasons for eye removal are:

Glaucoma that is causing severe pain and irreversible blindness. Glaucoma is an increased pressure inside the eye which can be caused by either a primary inherited disease, or secondary to other conditions such as uveitis (inflammation inside the eye), luxation of the lens, or detached retina.

Tumor growing inside the eye.

Severe Infection inside the eye, such as fungus or bacterial infection.

Deep melting corneal ulcer with infection inside the eye or a ruptured eye with severe infection.

Will my pet “miss” the eye?

Your pet will not know that the eye has been removed. In fact, most owners are amazed at how much better their pet feels once the painful eye is gone!

What happens the day of surgery?

An IV catheter is placed in the leg to administer fluids during and after surgery. Pre-anesthetic agents are given before surgery to prepare the patient for surgery. During surgery a breathing tube will be placed in the windpipe to administer gas anesthetic. His/her heart rhythm, blood pressure, blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels will be closely monitored for the entire surgery (which usually lasts about half an hour to 60 minutes). CO2 Laser is used to remove the surrounding tissues. The laser prevents bleeding and seals the nerves as well. This decreases pain and swelling post-operatively. During surgery, the entire contents of the orbit are removed, including the eye and surrounding tissues. An orbital implant is placed to keep the area from caving in for better cosmetic appearance. If there is severe orbital infection no implant will be placed. The eyelids are then removed and the skin is stitched up with skin staples that be removed in 3 weeks. Pain medication is dispensed to control post-operative discomfort and antibiotics to prevent infection.

How will my pet look after the surgery?

The fur will be shaved off in a rectangular or circular pattern around the incision (it will grow back over the next month or so). The number of skin sutures or skin staples used to close the wound varies, but there are usually about 10-15. Your pet will look as if permanently blinking on that side. In some cases a subcuticular closure is performed and the wound covered with skin glue. No sutures need to be removed.

The area will be swollen and bruised for a few days after surgery, this is normal and will subside with time. Some animals experience some blood oozing from the incision or nose for a few days, this is also normal and can be prevented or controlled by keeping your pet calm and quiet.

Will I need to care for the incision?

Cold compresses applied to the area for 5 minutes 3X daily for the first 2 days can reduce post-operative swelling and bruising. We recommend buying several bags of frozen baby peas to use as cold compresses since they easily conform to the shape of the face. You do not need to do anything to the incision. It does not require bandaging or dressings of any kind. We only ask that you watch for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pain, or pus-like discharge. Your pet will be sent home with antibiotics to help prevent infection.

Most pets do not rub at the area because it does not bother them (as discussed before, most pets feel much happier once the painful eye is gone), but use of an elizabethan collar (“cone”) is needed until healing is complete. Please call us if you have ANY concerns or questions.

Will I need to bring my pet back for a recheck?

We want to see your pet 1 week after surgery and then 2 weeks after for skin staple removal.