The phone rings. On the other end is a client with a Boston terrier.
“Hey,” she says calmly. “I just came downstairs this morning, and Chewey’s eye was popped out. I just pushed it in but I’m coming in for you to see him anyway.”
Proptosis, otherwise known as bug eyes, eyeballs-popping-out-of-the-head, or most commonly, “AUGH!” is most commonly the result of some sort of head trauma. When the eye is completely displaced out of the orbit, the damage is extensive and may result in loss of the eye. Do not google this. Trust me. Even I am a bit horrified looking at it.
Breeds with a shallow orbit- ie, the bony cup in which the globe resides- are predisposed to this occurrence. Pugs, Boston terriers, shih tzus, and other squishy faced sorts are the dogs we most often see with the condition. With these guys, the protrusion of the eye can result from something much less extreme than a car accident- such as a tussle with another dog, or an overly eager veterinary student restraining a dog with too much vigor (NOT me!)
The good news is with those less traumatic events, often the eye can be gently replaced, thus preserving vision. That is what happened with good old Chewey, who was none the worse for wear upon arrival at the clinic. I tested his vision, gave him some medications to help with the inflammation, and we’ll go from there. If it happens again, there are surgical procedures that can make it less likely to happen again.
With medical entries, I like to try and include a picture to help convey the type of condition I’m describing. I’ll spare you that in this case. Instead, enjoy this short clip from the oldie but goody, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
Exophthalmos at its most fun.