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Eye injuries and eyeball lacerations or cuts are very serious and time is of the essence to treat these conditions and provide effective first aid that will help preserve the dog's sight if at all possible. Knowing what to do if your dog has a lacerated eyeball is important, as doing the wrong thing can be just as bad as doing nothing at all in many cases.
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In emergency first aid treatment for eyeball lacerations the biggest priority is to clean out the eye as much as possible and to prevent further injury by the dog pawing at the eye or rubbing the head along the ground or other surface. In addition it is important to check to see if there is a foreign object embedded in the eye before doing anything, as even a bandage over the eye can further push the object into the eye, creating more damage. In addition an object should not be removed from the eye unless it is trapped in the eye but is not embedded. This can happen if the dog was cut by a tree limb that made a clean cut but left debris in the eye. Removing any embedded object will open up the wound and can lead to profuse bleeding in some cases, so wait until a vet or someone trained in animal first aid is present to remove the object.
First start by flushing out the eye with a commercial saline eye solution, like one used by people with contact lenses. If this is not available you can make your own by mixing one teaspoon of regular salt in one pint of clean tap water. Distilled water is even better if available, but cleaning the eye is more important than taking the time to boil and cool down water. Avoid using any natural sources of water such as ponds, lakes, or streams if at all possible as these will have the highest concentrations of bacteria that could potentially lead to infections.
After flushing the eye restrain the dog to prevent them from rubbing the eye. An Elizabethan collar is ideal, but just keeping the dog in your sight and restraining them from rubbing or scratching is fine in an emergency. Immediately get to an emergency animal hospital, don't wait to see your regular vet.
Corneal lacerations may also occur that are much less severe or more severe than an accidental cut. Any type of corneal or eye laceration has the potential to be blinding if not treated. Corneal lacerations and ulcers may occur with entropion or inward rolling of the eyelids or with chronic dry eye condition, trauma, or injury to the eye or when dogs are hurt through fighting or interactions with cats, dogs, or other animals. Often a corneal or eyeball laceration will require surgery to remove any tissue that has swollen and protrudes from the cut, stitch the tissue together or even surgically tack the eyelids shut to promote healing.
Owners will be required to keep the dog calm and relaxed, to keep an Elizabethan collar on the dog after surgery as well as to apply topical creams and oral antibiotics as prescribed by the vet. Generally the prognosis for eyeball lacerations is much better if the condition is treated as soon as possible after the injury, with success being decreased the longer the time from injury to treatment.
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