Corneal Ulcer of the Right Eye
In July of 2018 I started working with ZZ more intensely to get her ready for the next HRC test level. We were using fields and lots of ducks thrown by the homemade wingers. One day she ran off into the woods chasing critters while I was clearing some brush near one of the fields. When she returned her tongue was dripping blood. It quit bleeding shortly and we proceeded to do some training.
The next morning she would not quit rubbing her eye. Whatever she had tussled with had possibly hurt her eye, or during the training session she damaged it in the briers. She goes full speed through briers like they are not there, especially when retrieving ducks.
The local vet agreed to see her that afternoon. She immediately sent us to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of Georgia. She was concerned there was damage that an animal Ophthalmologist should treat.
An hour later we were there and found out that ZZ had a severe melting corneal ulcer of the right eye. Diagnosis also included the threat of loosing the eye or diminished vision at best.
They wanted to keep ZZ in the hospital for the first week to ensure she got the medications as needed, but since I am retired, I committed to medicating her myself. Retirement income does not allow me the luxury of allowing her to stay in the hospital if it can be avoided.
Treatment required continuous eye drops of three different medications every two hours with 5 minutes between each of the drops and two oral medications every eight hours. This had to be done for the next 4 days. The frequency of the drops moved to every four hours for the next 9 days. Then it moved to every 8 hours for 10 days, then to every 12 hours for a few days.
This is ZZ's eye the next morning.
ZZ also had to wear a cone all the time to keep her from rubbing her eye. That part was hard on both of us. It took her a few days to quit bumping into chairs and door frames, but she finally got the hang of wearing the cone.
She figured out on the first day how to eat cat food off the pavement. It was like watching a vacuum cleaner at work.
The days of every two hour medications almost made me a zombie. I got very little sleep those days. When it moved to every four hours, I was able to get a little more sleep. Even giving medications every eight hours is hard to do but I did get back to a normal sleep cycle during those last 10 days.
ZZ did not want eye drops at all at first. One of the drops was a serum they make from dog blood and it is always kind of cold since it had to be kept refrigerated. At first I had to physically lay on top of her to hold her while giving her the drops. By the end, she would sit and let me give her the drops.
This is about half way through treatment
The doctor said ZZ made a remarkable recovery. With a severe melting corneal ulcer, animals often loose the eye. She also said ZZ's eye only healed because I took the time to be sure she got the medications when prescribed. Not many people are capable of doing that since they also have to work.
This is on the day the doctor released her.
ZZ seems to have no real vision loss. There is only a very small scar that can be seen if you look very closely.
Needless to say, but training has been on hold. The cost of treating her drained my training and hunt test funds so we will begin again at the first of the new year.
I will be sure to take her directly to the vet the next time I think anything is wrong with one of her eyes. If I had waited this time, she would have lost the eye.
I am so glad we were able to get ZZ treated at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of Georgia. THANK YOU!