It usually starts as a nice visit from a family member or friend with their dog and yours. Unfortunately, not all dogs get along, much like people, and for your brachycephalic dog (having a relatively broad, short skull like pugs or shih tzu breeds) this can result in their already larger than life eyes finding a new home outside of the eye socket. Pugs and Pekinese, among others, are particularly prone, since they are bred for their bulging globes and baby like appearance. Head trauma from bites, fights, and increased pressure in or around the eye can result in ocular proptosis, aka an eyeball out of the eye socket.

This injury should not be ignored and should be address immediately, however there is no need to panic as this is a common injury we see on ER and something that is treated regularly. Once your veterinarian has evaluated the eye, an assessment will be made if the eye is viable or non-viable. This mean, whether your pet will be able to keep the eye or if it will have to be removed. If the eye is non-viable and your pet needs an enucleation (eyeball removal), there is no need to worry! Dogs and cats can do exceptionally well with decreased vision as they rely on their senses of smell and hearing and touch to navigate the world. Yes, your pet will now have more of a flirtatious winking appearance or hardened sailor look, but after they recover from surgery they will continue on with their lives with minimal notable deficits.

To avoid these injuries, as veterinarians, we always recommend a controlled environment if you are to introduce new dogs to one another and make sure that you stop any aggression or separate the dogs if the meeting does not appear to be going well. For more information about introducing new dogs to one another, reach out to your primary care veterinarian. They can guide you to an appropriate solution.