This is Grace, a one year old Springer Spaniel owned by Mr Roberts.

Springer Spaniel

Grace first visited the surgery in November with an inflamed right eye which looked very similar to a condition known as “cherry eye”. This basically means that a gland which is normally located within the third eyelid has prolapsed out of its normal position and is visible at the corner of the eye. It is not normally a painful condition but usually requires surgical correction. There was also a tiny bit of swelling below Grace’s eye so we initially thought it could have been trauma related since she is a working dog who loves nothing better than running through thick undergrowth.

Unfortunately Grace’s condition deteriorated rapidly and within 24 hours her eye and face became extremely swollen and painful:

dog with swollen eye

Poor Grace was very uncomfortable and was feeling miserable. At this point we were highly suspicious that Grace was suffering from a condition known as a retrobulbar abscess. This is an abscess at the back of her eye putting a lot of pressure on her eyeball and the surrounding structures. Unfortunately, it is a mystery as to what caused the abscess in the first place but more often than not, a small grass seed is the culprit. Due to the severity of Grace’s condition we decided it would be necessary to anaesthetise her for a full investigation. We were able to confirm the diagnosis with an ultrasound scan of the back of her eye. The scan allowed us to see the liquid pus behind her eye and we were then able to relieve the pressure by draining the abscess through an incision which we made in her gum, just behind her last molar tooth. Lancing the abscess will have provided Grace with some immediate relief but we also had her on strong pain killers and anti-inflammatories. Due to the nature and location of the infection, Grace also required to be on a combination of antibiotics for a month.

dog surgery

Following her surgery, Grace’s recovery was quite rapid and within a week most of the swelling around her face was resolving. After the 4 weeks of antibiotics, Grace had made a full recovery apart from her prolapsed third eyelid gland which we replaced surgically when she was under anaesthetic being neutered recently. Grace and her owner are now looking forward to getting back into training before the next working season begins.