Proptosis is a forward displacement of the eyeball such that the animal can no longer blink over the eye. The condition occurs most frequently in breeds with prominent eyes such as Pug, Lhasa Apso, and Pekingese, although it can occur in other species such as cats, horses, and exotics. Usually, it occurs as a result of trauma to the head such as a bite from another animal. Proptosis is an ocular emergency, causing severe discomfort and marked tenderness around the eye. The sooner the condition is treated, the better the prognosis will be.
There are several structures in and around the eye that can be potentially damaged by proptosis. The optic nerve that sends visual information to the brain extends from the back of the eye and leads to the brain, and the nerve is strained when the eye is proptosed forward. Additionally, the muscles responsible for moving the eye can be damaged. Blood inside the eye or a dilated pupil indicate further damage. In some cases, it is obvious to the ophthalmologist that the eye and/or vision will not be recovered. In other cases, restorative surgery is recommended because there is a fair chance the eye and/or vision can be saved. Either way, a proptosed globe mandates immediate medical attention. Each case is different and the specific course of treatment is warranted by Dr. Dugan or Dr. Best upon thorough evaluation of the eye.
If you suspect your pet has a proptosed globe, please contact our office, your general veterinarian, or an emergency clinic immediately.