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Corneal Tear?


jaym1
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my dog vicki, who is 2 years old and who i have had for all of three weeks, just tore her cornea last night. how she managed this, i have no idea. it is a 50% thickness tear, and they are currently observing her in the hospital. i am hoping for a conservative course of non-surgical treatment, but she may need surgery.

 

those who follow this forum know that i just lost a dog to osteosarcoma. the cost of that treatment, even with insurance, was financially crippling. i hadnt insured vicki yet, since i literally just got her, and already i am about $700 in the hole, with the real possibility of a $3000 surgery. at that cost, and coming immediately on the heels of six months of osteo treatment, included in a total of 18 months during which my late dog tempo's total medical billing was in the neighborhod of $13k (and i only had him for 18 months), i don't really know what my realistic options are. this is completely ridiculous, but i cant mortgage my entire life anymore to pay for the astronomical and seemingly improbable levels of medical expenses that apparently go along with greyhound ownership.

 

i suppose my question is: does anyone have any experience with non-surgical treatment of corneal tears vs. surgery? thus far the ophthalmologist thinks that may be a viable route, but they are keeping her for further observation. also, how much do surgeries in other regions and at other hospitals typically cost? she is at the MSPCA angell hospital in boston. while the care is outstanding, it is a major research/vet medical center and, as such, very expensive, and i am trying to figure out if surgery at a more affordable practice elsewhere is a viable option.

 

addendum: have the powers that be in greytalk land considered updating the platform so that three-letter words such as "eye," "paw" and the various other important and highly relevant terms that don't come in at four letters or more are actually searchable? i'm sure there are many threads on this, but not being able to search for the word "eye" seems like way to much of a concession to make in order to get a probably not even marginally faster search experience.

Edited by jaym1
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Why don't you wait and see what the opth dr says. I share your $$ woes. My Shannon was just recently diagnosed with a brain tumor-by the grace of god there's a radiation clinic 10 minutes from the house that is equipped with a stereotactic radio surgery unit-aka cyber knife. That radiation therapy should be curative (hopefully at least 15 month remission) BUT, treatment comes at a price. Between icu admission, MRI, ct scan/planning and the srt it's cost me over &15,000-to be honest I stopped counting. Advances in veterinary medicine has been amazing but, it sure comes at a price. She's not insured. So, I do sympathize. Fingers crossed your baby won't need surgery.

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having spoken with the ophthalmologist just now, we are still where we were last night. it hasnt gotten better, but it hasnt gotten significantly worse, either, though the tear has gotten incrementally deeper. he thinks waiting to see if conservative (non-surgical) treatment will work is reasonable, but it's right on the edge right now. the drawback with surgery is that the cut is right in the middle of her eye, and grafting on a new piece of cornea will cause significant, irreversible vision impairment in that eye by creating a cloudy spot where the scar tissue will be.

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Guest Liz_in_PA

How terrible would it be to have a dog that is blind in one eye? That's really the worst case scenario, right?

 

If you are asking my opinion, I don't believe that you should add to your current debt.

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My opinion is just because something (surgery) can be done, doesn't mean it should be done. I hope she won't need it but press the vet for all the other options so you can make the right decision for the both of you.

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Deirdre with Conor (Daring Pocobueno), Keeva (Kiowa Mimi Mona), & kittehs Gemma & robthomas.

Our beloved angels Faolin & Liath, & kittehs Mona & Caesar. Remembering Bobby, Doc McCoy, & Chip McGrath.

"He feeds you, pets you, adores you, collects your poop in a bag. There's only one explanation: you are a hairy little god." Nick Galifinakis

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Many moons ago, my toddler daughter poked me in the eye with a hairbrush and tore off 1/3 of my cornea. Hideously painful, but the ophthalmologist just gave me several meds to put into the eye, and I wore a patch for about a week. Surgery wasn't even mentioned, and my eye healed fine. If I was in your shoes, I would go the non-surgical route.

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My first greyhound Chelsea was blind in one eye. I never noticed it when I picked her out at the kennel and it would not have mattered to me anyway. When introducing her to my neighbor he asked me what was wrong with her eye, the next day at her vet visit my vet felt that a corneal tear had caused her blindness. She went on to be a therapy dog and enjoy all the things that other dog did. Best wishes for both you and your sweet dog.

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Yes, Angel Memorial is good but, very expensive.

 

Ask the surgeons what the best result you could expect from the surgery and then ask what the worst possible outcome could be. Ask the same question about just observing the eye and doing eye drops with maybe a patch so the lid is not constantly moving over the rip on the eye.

 

I'm sorry you ended up in this position so soon after your recent loss.

 

I suspect that the answers might be the same -- that either surgery or a wait-n-see could result in a "fixed eye" and in the worst case for both (surgery and wait-n-see), that the injury may damage the eyesight to some degree.

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thanks all. it seems to be stabilizing. they're going to keep her there overnight. my understanding is that, because its a 50% thickness tear, the fear is that her blinking eye, combined with the swelling, might move things around enough to tear all the way through, causing the eye to start draining, at which point surgery would be necessary. the best outcome for the conservative, non-surgical course is a complete cure --the eye could just heal itself. but that comes with the risk of a possible complete tear that could result in blindness. the surgical intervention would eliminate the possibility, but would leave her with permanent vision impairment in each eye. so both options have drawbacks. given what ive heard so far, i am going to stay the conservative route.

 

as ive always said, the people who can least afford insurance need it the most. if only i had signed her up on day one, i would be covered. given recent history, though, i was thinking more about diseases than trauma, and since shes barely two, i figured i had a little leeway. lost that gamble big time.

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I suspected that the "blinking eye" could create problems by pulling at the area and making it worse. Did they by chance suggest a minor surgery of maybe suturing the eye shut for a time? Problems with suturing eye shut would be that the eye could get too dry and then maybe an infection could set in ....

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Personally, Angell is my first choice of vet care in the Boston area. The cost is worth it and it sounds like they are working with you. If you are worried about the cost, given my experience there they will provide you with an estimate so you have something to think about. Also, if you don't have a Care Credit card, I know Angell takes them and will help you set up an account if you can. This will provide some 0% interest options for paying the bill. My pup is recovering from an eye ulcer but a tear is different. He had a Keratotomy which is a minor procedure and it cost about $900. Of course he had six vet visits leading up to this so there were office visit charges along the way.

 

I hope she continues to improve.

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My dog Jack is blind in one eye due to an injury when he was a puppy. Not exactly sure what happened to him but he wound up with glaucoma which was treated with a cilliary body ablation. He was able to keep the eye but has no sight in it, you would never know it, he runs, plays and catches frisbees without difficulty. Good luck with your dog, worst case scenario of losing sight in one eye has not been a problem for Jack.

Linda, Keeva and Jack

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Yes, my guy also had a contact lens put in following his procedure for the eye ulcer. Are you working with one of the eye docs at Angell or are you still working with the er services? If still in er you may want to ask for an ophthamologist consult.

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she came home today. she was cared for during her stay in the critical care unit by the ophthalmologist. things seem to be looking up, and the tear seems to have stabilized. it still looks pretty gnarly -- so much so that it's tough to look at, to be honest. she's on three different eye drops and three different pills, plus the cone. it's going to be a long couple weeks, but i'll trade that in order to avoid surgery.

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