Dogs Eyes Are Bulging (cont.)
What to Do
Next, ask yourself these questions:
Has your dog recently suffered any blunt trauma? Any type of solid blow to the head or body of a dog can cause enough intracranial pressure to result in a bulging eye or eyes. In some extreme cases, the eye will actually pop right out of its socket! If you think trauma is the reason for the bulging, but your dog appears to be otherwise healthy, try applying a cold compress to the affected side of your dog's face and give the eye some time to return to its normal position. Give this some time, but no more than a week, for improvement. See your vet if the situation does not resolve.
Has your dog been scratching or rubbing at his eyes? Dogs with painful, irritated, or itchy eyes are likely to scratch or rub them aggressively. Over time this can cause swelling and bulging. In such cases it is important to correct the source of the discomfort in order to get them to stop the self trauma before you can expect the eye position to resolve. Initially, use an Elizabethan collar, which you can buy at pet supply stores, to protect the eyes from further trauma. If this doesn't dramatically improve the problem within a day, see your vet. Corneal abrasions and ulcerations will often seem just like simple irritations, but they won't respond as well to simple at-home therapy.
When you pressed down on your dog's upper lids, did his eyeballs feel unusually hard? Rises in intraocular pressure usually occur as a result of the disease called glaucoma. Immediate veterinary care for such a case may save the dog's sight, so don't waste any time if you notice this during your exam.
When you pressed down on your dog's upper lids, was it painful for him? This could also be due to glaucoma, which is often quite painful. Alternatively, it could be due to a retrobulbar abscess. See “My Dog Cries Out When She Tries to Open Her Mouth” [not available online].
Does your dog appear to be sensitive to light? See “My Dog's Eyes Are Squinting”.
When to Get the Vet
If the bulging is frightfully dramatic or if your dog is not acting well, you should head for your vet's office.
Text © 2007 by Robert D. "Jake" Tedaldi, D.V.M.