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Ocular Proptosis in Dogs… Causes, Treatments and Costs!

OK, we’re not going to sugar coat this one, having a dog that is diagnosed with ocular proptosis is rough!  Rough because, we all love our animals and this disease looks horrible and because regardless of how soon one gets his or her dog to the vet, chances are it’s still going to be expensive.

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly 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!


Before we get to ahead of ourselves, it is important to know what Ocular Proptosis is first so that we can get a better idea of what exactly we’re dealing with.

Ocular Proptosis defined

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

Susceptible dog breeds

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

  • All Brachycephalic breeds because of their genetic predisposal
    • Especially Pugs and Pekingese
    • But also:
      • Bull mastiff
      • Chows
      • Chihuahuas
      • Shih Tzus

Now as…

As proud owners of a two-year old Pug, we must admit that there were times when we thought maybe our own dog suffered from ocular proptosis simply because “at times” her eyes do seem to be bulging 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.  You see, with a “real” case of ocular proptosis, the symptoms you’re going to encounter are much more pronounced than a typical brachycephalic breed’s squashed face is going to produce.  With a “real” case of ocular proptosis, you’re likely going to encounter:

  • The globe of the affected dog is literally 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 obviously scared and in a lot of pain, so it is important to not magnify whatever they are feeling 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 actually try to administer care to your dog on the way to the hospital. If this is the case, there are actually two things you can try to do.
    • First, try to limit your dog from moving around too much, this will protect your dog from further damaging its eye
    • Second, if you have contact solution, you can use it to 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 that you should do if you notice that your pet is suffering from any kind of illness is to have the checked out by a professional ASAP.

You see…

Here at IndulgeYourPet, we’re just a bunch of folks who are PASSIONATE about animals and only want what’s best for them.  So, while we do try to share some of our knowledge and experience that we have with animals with our readers, it’s always best to seek out the advice and experience 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 with you once you make it to the hospital.

Ocular proptosis treatment options

Once at the veterinarian, your vet will first want to physically examine your dog, and then may administer an IV to get fluids back into your loved one, and/or give a blood transfusion to a dog that lost a lot of blood in an injury.

They’ll also want to…

Try to determine what has caused your dog to develop his or her ocular proptosis.  To do so, they may order a skull and chest X-ray to look for any broken bones and a complete blood count (CBC) to see how much blood was lost.

This is because…

Ocular proptosis can be caused do 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
  • Sharp force trauma to the face
    • (Hit in the head hard with an object that has a blade)
      • 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.


Your furry friend has a ruptured eyeball, many torn muscles, a detached retina, or damage to the optic nerve, then the vet will recommend an enucleation or removal of the eyeball.  Then the two edges of the eyeball will be sewn together.


If the vet decides the globe of your dog’s eye is salvageable, they will attempt to do a procedure called temporary tarsorrhaphy.  This is where they reattach the globe 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 both of these procedures seem just as expensive as they are.  The enucleation can cost more than $1000, and the temporary tarsorrhaphy can cost more than $4,000, and also require frequent check-ups and may come with complications like glaucoma.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet highly recommend checking out a pet insurance policy for your pets, because one simple accident could cause a Proposed eye which could cost thousands of dollars, and that is in addition to any broken bones or other issues your pet could endure.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right 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 in the industry, feel free to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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