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Ocular Proptosis in Dogs… Causes, Treatments and Costs!

OK, we won’t sugarcoat this one; having a dog diagnosed with ocular proptosis is rough!  It’s rough because we all love animals, and this disease looks horrible. Regardless of how soon one gets their dog to the vet, it will still be expensive.

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss precisely what ocular proptosis is so that if you’ve recently had your dog diagnosed with this condition, you’ll be better prepared to know what to expect!  But before we get ahead of ourselves, it is essential to understand what Ocular Proptosis is first to understand better what we’re dealing with.

Ocular Proptosis Defined

Ocular proptosis is a medical term used to describe a condition in which a dog’s globe (eyeball) begins to protrude from the eye socket.  In severe cases, the eyeball can fall out of the socket entirely!

Susceptible dog breeds

While technically, all dogs can “theoretically” suffer from ocular proptosis, some breeds seem more susceptible to ocular proptosis.  These breeds would include:

  • All Brachycephalic species because of their genetic predisposal
    • Especially Pugs and Pekingese
    • But also:
      • Bullmastiff
      • Chows
      • Chihuahuas
      • Shih Tzus

Now, as proud owners of a two-year-old Pug, we must admit that there were times when we thought our dog might suffer from ocular proptosis simply because “at times,” her eyes seemed to bulge out of her head!

But that’s not what…

We’re talking about here.  Real ocular proptosis isn’t a laughing matter, and it’s not something you’re likely to confuse with any other condition.  With a “real” case of ocular proptosis, the symptoms you’ll encounter are much more pronounced than a typical brachycephalic breed’s squashed face will produce.  With a “real” case of ocular proptosis, you’re likely going to encounter:

  • The globe of the affected dog is hanging from or protruding from the orbit of the eye.

Coupled with:

  • Torn tissue around the eye or eye ligaments,
  • Blood is around the eye,
  • Corneal clouding,
    • The cornea(lens) of the eye is bluish/greyish or cloudy
  • Periocular Swelling (puffiness under the eye)
    • Or the area around the eye is puffy and pink or red
  • Your dog cannot fully close their eyelids
    • Or perhaps be able to blink at all

Sounds horrible… Right?  The good news is that there are some things you can do if you think your dog may be suffering from Ocular Proptosis:


  • Stay calm
    • Your dog is scared and in a lot of pain, so it is essential not to magnify their feelings by acting frantic.


  • Get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
    • Animal Hospitals are your best bet since they are open 24 hours a day
    • It is recommended to call in before you show up so they can be prepared for you coming in.


  • Depending on the severity of your dog’s eye, you may need to try to administer care to your dog on the way to the hospital. If this is the case, there are two things you can try to do.
    • First, limit your dog from moving around too much; this will protect your dog from further damaging its eye.
    • Second, if you have a contact solution, you can soak a gauze and place it on the affected eye.

Which reminds us…

It’s important to remember that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  This is why we always recommend that the first thing you should do if you notice that your pet is suffering from any illness is to have it checked out by a professional ASAP.

You see…

Here at IndulgeYourPet, we’re just a bunch of PASSIONATE about animals and only want what’s best for them.  So, while we try to share some of our knowledge and experience with animals with our readers, it’s always best to seek out the advice and expertise of your local experts rather than try to “self-diagnose” or “treat” via the internet.

Now, with that covered…

Let’s discuss what options your vet will probably discuss once you make it to the hospital.

Treatment Options

Once at the veterinarian, your vet will first want to examine your dog physically and then administer an IV to get fluids back into your loved one and give a blood transfusion to a dog that lost a lot of blood in an injury.  They’ll also want to determine what caused your dog to develop ocular proptosis.  To do so, they may order a skull and chest X-ray to look for broken bones and a complete blood count (CBC) to see how much blood was lost.

This is because…

Ocular proptosis can be caused due to a variety of reasons, including:

  • Eye injury
  • Fight with another dog
  • Trauma to the face
  • Blunt force trauma to the face
    • (Hit in the head hard with an object with no sharp blade.)
      • Such as a rock
  • Intense force trauma to the face
    • (Hit in the head hard with a thing that has an edge.)
      • Such as a knife
  • Your dog could have run into another object
  • Trips and falls resulting in a head injury or a car accident

From there, your vet will generally typically propose one of two different treatment options based on the severity of your dog’s condition.  Suppose your furry friend has a ruptured eyeball, many torn muscles, a detached retina, or damage to the optic nerve. In that case, the vet will recommend an enucleation or removal of the eyeball.  Then, the two edges of the eyeball will be sewn together.

But if the vet decides the globe of your dog’s eye is salvageable, they will attempt a temporary tarsorrhaphy procedure.  This is where they reattach the world in the orbit and stitch it in place.  Both of these procedures require the use of general anesthesia.  Other surgical options include a lateral canthotomy or lateral tarsorrhaphy.


We should warn you that these procedures seem just as expensive as they are.  The enucleation can cost more than $ 1,000, and the temporary tarsorrhaphy can cost more than $4,000, and also require frequent check-ups and may come with complications like glaucoma.  We at IndulgeYourPet highly recommend checking out a pet insurance policy. A straightforward accident could cause a Proposed eye, which could cost thousands of dollars, in addition to any broken bones or other issues your pet could endure.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies, please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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