Leo’s Enucleation Surgery from the Day Before to 2 Weeks Out

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Seeing a family member in pain is heartbreaking, doesn’t matter if it is a human or animal family member.  Having to go through surgery can and is very stressful…having a child/fur baby go through surgery can be even worse.   What is something happens?  What if something goes wrong?  What should I expect after the surgery?  What will the healing process be like?  Will my loved one be in pain?  These were just a few of the questions I asked myself, my husband and our vet prior to Leo’s enucleation surgery.  I spent weeks researching online and found a lot of technical information, but didn’t find very many personal experiences, so we decided it would be best to share Leo’s story and daily progress, in hopes that it would help some other families going through the same situation.

Leo’s Story:

Leo is a very happy, healthy and active 10 year old Boston Terrier.  Leo has never had any medical issues, well, an ear infection now and then, but nothing major.  Leo had only ever had one surgery in his life and that was when he got fixed.  On April 2nd I arrived home from work to find that Leo had something very wrong with his right eye.  Upon an emergency visit to the vet we learned that Leo had what was called an anterior luxation (to learn more I found this site very helpful:  http://www.eyevet.ca/luxlens.html).  This anterior luxation caused an acute onset of glaucoma because it blocked the flow of Leo’s eye fluids and was causing pressure.  We treated Leo’s eye with 2 different kinds of eye drops (Pred Acetate 1%  drops & Dorzolamide 2%…the first was a steroid to help with pain and the second is a glaucoma medication to help with the eye pressure).  Our vet explained that the drops would help for a while, but were not a long-term fix, she also explained that they could work for a few months or weeks and that eventually they would not help as his condition progressed.   We did a fundraiser to help with Leo’s surgery costs and as soon as we reached out goal Leo’s surgery was scheduled.  Leo was diagnosed on April 2nd and had his surgery on May 3rd.  During the month between diagnosis and surgery Leo’s eye was stable at first, but then did get much worse.  Leo’s right eye was clearly larger than his left, he struggled to keep it open, it was very bloodshot, it was pressure/touch sensitive, he was tearing excessively, and Leo could not see out of the eye at all.  Leo loves the sunshine and was not allowed to lay or play in it as it made his eye much worse.  Leo wanted to play, but if he got bumped he would yelp and run to mom for comfort.  We were very blessed to have such wonderful people help donate to Leo’s surgery so that he could get in to the vet and get the surgery done before being in more pain.

 

What to expect & risks of surgery:

One very important thing to remember is that every dog is different and heals differently.  If you have a dog that is healthy, the healing process with probably be easier, quicker and will more than likely have less complications…BUT as with humans, every surgery and patient is different.  Enucleation surgery is a MAJOR surgery.  Our vet did Leo’s surgery in the early afternoon and actually kept him overnight to monitor him, they also kept him on an iv with pain medication and antibiotics, which we think was very helpful (stressed me out and made me worry when they said they were keeping him overnight, but it was for the best).

Due to Leo being a Boston Terrier we chose to have the prosthetic eye placed in the socket so that he would not have a large caved in area.  Prosthetic eyes can cause more complications, such as infection.  Dogs who do not have such large predominate eyes like those of  Boston Terriers, will do very well without the prosthetic…it is all your choice.  The great thing with Leo getting the prosthetic is that he does not have a caved in area and literally just looks like he is winking, which is a little easier on the humans in his life.

One of the big risks that comes with any surgery is infection, that is why your vet will prescribe you a course of antibiotics for your dog (Leo loved them because every morning and evening he got a “special” treat and he thought that he was getting spoiled).   When you go to get your loved one after surgery there WILL be a lot of swelling, this is normal, but is very hard to see (as soon as Leo came into the room I was in tears, not only because I missed him so much and was so worried about him, but the shock of seeing his surgery area and the swelling).  Our vet explained that there may be some bloody discharge or seepage from the surgery area and that is normal, but if it becomes an excessive amount to contact them immediately…we were very lucky as Leo experienced no discharge at all.  Your loved one will have an Elizabethan collar on (much better than a regular cone of shame) which is nice and soft.  This will help protect their eye area from being bumped  and from them scratching at it.

If you have other pets at home you may want to keep you loved one that just had surgery away from them in a nice safe area.  Leo got to spend a lot of time in our guest bedroom during the first few days after his surgery.  Other pets do not understand that your loved one just went through a major surgery and you do not want them bumping them, running into them or anything else along those lines…those first few days after surgery are very important in the healing process and keeping the pet safe from further injury is very important.  Leo’s first night home we had him sleep with his Elizabethan collar, he wasn’t completely comfortable, but we felt good knowing his eye was protected.

You may experience some swelling in the check area after surgery, Leo had swelling in his check the day after he got home, but by the next day it was gone.

There WILL be bruising.  Hey, it is a major surgery and bruising is to be expected.  Being that your loved ones eye area will have been shaved the bruising will be very visible, but thankfully will only last for a few days.

Leo only wore his Elizabethan collar for a couple of nights, and then we had him wear it during the day if we weren’t right there to monitor him, but he did very well with it off.  Make sure to keep a close eye on your dog to make sure they are not rubbing or scratching at the area, if they are you will want to make sure they continue to wear the Elizabethan collar.  Thankfully, Leo did not rub or scratch at the area at all, so that really helped his healing process.

Typically, if all goes well, the sutures will be removed 11-14 days after surgery.  Leo had two sutures that came untied, we just left them alone and we were reassured by the vet that as long as the eyelids were not pulling apart in the areas that came untied Leo would be fine.  Remember that your furry loved one also has internal sutures to help.

One of the things that we did not think about ahead of time was eyelid and brow movements.  When some dogs get cancer or have to have more of the eye area removed the vet will have to take out many of the muscles so there will not be facial expressions of the eye area on that side.  Leo, thankfully did not have cancer, so they only needed to remove his eye, which means that his eyelid and eyebrow both still work.  Leo’s right eye area still does the blinking motion at the same time his left eye does and his little eyebrows still move and are very expressive, which is wonderful, but just not one of those things that we had thought about ahead of time.  We love that he still is so expressive.

It will take time for  your dog to adjust to only having one eye.  Their depth perception will be off, it will take them a while to notice things on the side of their surgery.  Leo loves to beg for treats and we experienced him grabbing a treat and dropping it, but he could not see it because it landed on the right side so we had to guide him to it.  As with any major physical change it will just take some time to adjust.  Your loved one may also be a little jumpy and easily startled if they are approached from the side that no longer has an eye.  It will also take them a while to do the visual adjustment with the other eye so that they don’t get to close to or run into things on their surgery side.  Leo has come very close to running into a couple of corners.

Your loved one will want to be playing and back to their usual selves within a few days of surgery, but you as their human have to be the big meany that does not let them play as rough as they are used to…you are their protector.  Leo is highly active and plays very rough, so limiting his play was very hard.  Typically within about a month of surgery they area will be completely healed and your loved one can play at their normal rate.  We are choosing to keep a very close eye on Leo (no pun intended) and not let him play as rough as he is used to because now he only has one eye and we need to keep that protected.

Remember that your furry loved one will need extra love, tummy rubs and nom noms 🙂

Photos from the day before surgery through 2 weeks after surgery:

A few days ago I went back and was showing a co-worker Leo’s surgery photos and I was amazed at seeing how he healed…how you could see the healing from day to day.  I’ve taken a few pictures from each day of his healing process and put them all together in this one blog so you can see how much of a change there is…amazing!

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98 responses »

    • Words cannot express my thanks for this wonderful post. My 10 yr. old rescue tabby from Hurricane Wilma (thus named Wilma Kitty) is having either a lens removal or total eye removal next week, depending on how well the medications have worked and if she has any vision at all in her right eye. My heart is broken and I’m scared. Your post was so uplifting and educational- I now know what lies ahead for both of us. While I’m sick at the thought of putting Wilma through this in a month or so all this will be behind us. Again, thank you.

      • Debbie, I hate to hear that you and Wilma Kitty are going through this…I hope that all turns out well and want to remind you that our furry family members are much more resilient than us whiny humans. Please keep me updated on what happens with Wilma Kitty. P.S. Thank you for being an amazing human and adopting!

    • Our Boston, Rocky has just had his right eye removed. I cannot tell you how much this blog has comforted me! Thank you for all the great pictures! Leo is simply beautiful! I can’t imagine my life without a Boston-they are amazing! Thank you again for your blog posts!

      • I am so happy to hear that Leo’s story has helped comfort you with Rocky’s eye removal. How old is Rocky? I can honestly and proudly admit that I am a Boston addict 🙂 Parents got me my first one when I was six, I am now 36 and have always had one (or more) in my life.

    • Thank you for sharing Leo’s story. Our elderly dog Lulu is having enucleation surgery tomorrow. Seeing Leo’s photo diary has helped tremendously on what to expect after the surgery.

  1. Just like Gina said…. our baby girl, Lola, came to us at 11 week from rescue with a ruptured globe. After a struggle, it has been stable for almost 5 years…. until 2 weeks ago. It ruptured again. This time we’ve decided to enucleate while she’s still youngish. She under goes surgery Thursday…. makes me so sad for her to go through this but Im so glad to know she won’t have to struggle with it anymore. Thanks so much for sharing Leo’s story! ❤

    • Being that Lola is still pretty young…around 5 years old, her surgery should go really well and she should heal really well. Our vet was a little concerned with Leo’s age when it came to the surgery, but he is in great health so that really helped. I am so glad that Leo’s story was able to help some. Please keep us updated on how Lola’s surgery and healing goes.

  2. Leo looks great! We are on Day 3 post-enucleation with our spaniel, and keeping him from running wild is becoming a full-time job! He feels so much better.

  3. Thank you for your blog. My boston had bilateral cataract surgery April 2 and it has been a nightmare since then. He developed ulcers on both eyes. The left eye healed and the right we ended up having to do surgery on. All of the sudden this weekend his left started to cloud up and drain and we could tell his was in pain so we took him to the eye hospital we use. She said he had an ulcer and it was bad and she wanted to keep him overnight where he has someone with him constantly. We got the call this morning that they were walking him about midnight and his eye ruptured. He is having his eye removed this morning and I was devastated for him. I am going through the blame game right now because I kind of thought I saw the start of an ulcer and did not insist we take him in because it was not time for his next appointment yet. All of that to say I am glad I came across this blog because I have no idea what to expect and my heart is breaking for him. I appreciate your pictures!

    • Jennifer,
      Wow, what a stressful time for you and your Boston. I read this and was in tears as I know how you feel. Prior to Leo’s enucleation he was in so much pain and just wasn’t himself, within 3 days of having the surgery he wanted to be his normal playful self because he was feeling so much better (we of course were the big meanies who wouldn’t let him play like he wanted to). I think that your boy will be feeling better and would love to hear updates about how he is. I also understand what you mean when you talk about the blame game as the summer prior to Leo’s emergency I took him into our old vet 3 times to get his eye looked at and kept being told he was “fine” and only had a “case of momitis” the vets way of telling me I worried too much. Always go with your gut, that is what I learned from the experience…if something doesn’t feel right ask the vet, if the vet is a quack like our old one was, make sure to get a second opinion.
      We wish you and your Boston the best and hope that he heals quickly. We are always so touched by hearing other peoples stories and knowing that Leo’s helped make this stressful time a little easier.

  4. Great Blog! We have 2 Boston Terriers. Our male, Apollo, was a gift to my husband for valentine’s day from me and the other was a rescue we adopted after losing my 10 year old Siberian Husky. Jersey is our rescue and came to us with her eye already missing…but we ended up needing to do surgery on that eye because it was never removed like it should have been or like the rescue had been told. So although she had no eye to start with, we still went through the trauma of having this surgery anyway. My poor girl was walking around for months with a massive headache, attacking my 16 year old Cocker and just not trustworthy. Instead of returning her to the rescue, I called them and asked for behavioral help and then took her to my vet asking about the strange drainage from her missing eye that we would later find out was not really “missing”. Long story short…Jersey was a different dog after surgery…her pain was gone and she never attacked my Cocker again….or anyone.

    I ran across your blog while trying to wrap my head around my Persian female getting her eye removed last night. Her’s was due to trauma from a fight with another of my cats and glaucoma developed and the pressure was still increasing even with medication and her pain was not even touched by the pain meds she was on. I took her back yesterday afternoon because I was very concerned about her pain level as she still was refusing to eat (this is VERY dangerous for any animal but especially a cat)…so we both agreed removing the eye was best. So late last night, once my vet could fit her into the schedule, my girl had her eye removed. I pick her up this evening. It has been a few years since going through this and well I am trying to keep my mind busy instead of worrying — I found your blog. Thank you for sharing this with everyone – although I have been through this surgery before, no two are the same. I found this a comforting reminder that in the end, my girl is going to feel much better!!!!

    • That is crazy that Jersey’s eye wasn’t removed like stated…did they just sew it closed? Wow. I am sorry to hear that you have a furry loved one going through this, but very touched that Leo’s story was a comfort. That makes our day 🙂

  5. Hi Roxanne: wow the first blog entry I come across and it’s another Boston with one eye! Excellent I said and as I read your entry, I just have to smile at Leo and just give him the “high Paw”. My Stan just had this surgery done yesterday, October 17, 2014 and he looks great this morning. He is the type that will scratch his eye tho’ so he has a soft collar on for now. I wish I could post a before and after picture but believe me, he looks much better without. He had an ulcer which we were treating and it just wasn’t healing, then, upon arriving at the vet for his check up, the eye ruptured in the parking lot. It was very bad and was infected, NOT GOOD. We had to wait until yesterday for surgery tho’ and that kinda pissed me off a bit, cause this is a serious matter, but non the less, it’s done now and I feel much better for him, he is not hurting anymore. The smell was not pleasant and I was washing it every hour it seemed to get the goop off his eyelids. Gross. Stan is also 10, and loves the ball! His other eye has a bad cataract in it but he is still able to see, but who knows for how long. I will do everything in my power to make sure that he can, play ball somehow. I have given him his pain med this morning and his antibiotic, he has a great appetite! We shall see how he does just with the one dose of pain med but in 8 hours if he is flinching he will get another. He can also be given Metacam liquid for pain management if necessary.
    What did you do for exercise?? Did you talk him for light walks, were you able to? Also did you bathe the eye with a cool cloth at all? Sorry this is such a long post, but there is more I could say. But thanks for writing it and posting pictures, the stitch job Leo got looks better than Stan’s but every vet is different in their closing styles. So forward we go. Thanks Roxanne for listening and thank you Leo!

    • Going through this kind of thing can be very stressful. I am so glad to hear that Stan is doing well. I was fearful of Leo’s eye rupturing as we were struggling to keep the acute glaucoma that was caused by the anterior luxation under control. With Leo he really wanted to be his typical self and play, but we limited that. Our vet recommended we take it easy with him for at least a week, but two would be better. She did reassure us that they do internal stitches as well as the external ones, just to be extra safe. Due to having two other dogs, we kept Leo in the guest room…yes, I spent two full weeks sleeping in the guest room with him just because of being fearful of one of our other two accidentally stepping on his face. Leo did really want to play, but we kept it really gentle (you could tell he was somewhat frustrated with us about this, but it was for his own good and safety). One of Leo’s all time favorite toys is his Hedgy so he that was great because Hedgy is a soft toy. We also made sure he had his own potty time outside and the others had theirs as often times they end up running and playing. After about a week of this we did let them all go out at the same time together with us monitoring. I was very protective as we wanted him to heal fully with no hiccups. I think part of my fear of him playing rough and tumble like Bostons do wasn’t really him hurting his enucleation area, but was him injuring his “good” eye….I still worry about that, but let him play like he always did.

      We did not bathe his eye with a cool cloth at all, even though our vet did let us know that we could if we noticed any drainage. Thankfully, Leo had no drainage at all, so we thought it was best to just leave it alone. Theory is if it isn’t broke don’t fix it 😉

  6. I want to thank you and Leo so much for this blog. My dog was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma on his eyelid three weeks ago and removal of the lid and eye were recommended to keep this horrible cancer from spreading. This morning, he had his procedure done. The vet called a little over an hour ago to tell me his surgery went great and there was minimal bleeding and she thinks he will heal up and recover very nicely. I am so scared to go pick him up this evening (he’s not staying over, my vet has no night staff). I’m scared to see him and I’m worried about his healing for the next few days. I’ve been obsessively reading and looking through Leo’s story and photos for the past couple of weeks to help prepare myself. I know they are all different and heal differently but your little man is an inspiration and such a beacon of hope to me and my little guy. I know the next few days wont be easy, but your wonderful Leo shows how great life will still be in a week or two! Thank you again for documenting this…it’s a true blessing i came across it…it helps to see the human/dog side of this, not just the medical side… Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    maria and samson.

    • Maria,

      Thank you so much. I love hearing that Leo’s story helped make a very stressful time a little easier. How old is Samson and what breed? I know that he will heal wonderfully as they are so resistant and bounce back much faster than us whiny humans 🙂

      • Samson just turned 12 and we were told when we got him when he was around 6 months that he was full chihuahua but we think he’s a mix…he’s around 15lbs and though he has the chihuahua applehead and broad chest, he looks so rat terrier in some ways. whatever he is, we love him dearly!! He is a very high energy boy like your Leo.
        I couldn’t believe when i picked him up (about 8-9 hours after surgery), he wagged his tail when he saw me and as soon as he got home he wouldn’t sit still and went to the kitchen because he was starving! One of my fears was that he wouldn’t eat or take his meds, but it all went amazingly, all within minutes of arriving home. Thanks to your blog, I also bought him the inflatable collar which is doing so well with and we’ve been able to avoid that horrible cone.
        He is remarkable and I cant believe how he’s just going about his day like it’s any other day. I have to keep making him lay down and take it easy because he’s always on the go. Dogs are truly wonderful and amazing beings! Dr will remove his sutures on the 19th..i cant believe only 10 days!
        I hope you, Leo and the rest of the gang are having a wonderful week 🙂

      • I too was shocked as to how soon the sutures were removed, but was very reassured when our vet let me know that there are internal sutures done too, that made me feel a little better. I am so glad to hear Samson is doing so well. The soft collar is a LIFESAVER. So much easier on the dogs. With our flat faced kids they would not be able to eat with a cone of shame on. One of the hard things for us was that we have 2 other dogs that were very curious about Leo and wanted to sniff his surgery area and wanted to play as that is what they are used to doing…it was hard limiting their time together and their playtime. I spent two weeks sleeping in the guest bedroom with Leo while the other two slept in the main bedroom (well, Doc would sleep outside of the baby gate on the guest room door so he could be close to Leo and me). I am so happy to hear that Samson’s surgery went well and that he is doing good…makes my day 🙂

  7. Hi I just found the blog on Leo, which I found it sooner. My dog, Ava is a german shepard mix and she had her eye removed nine days ago. It was a stressful time , especially when I saw her after the surgery. She is a nervous dog to begin with and gave the vet and the staff a really hard time when they tried to give her anesthesia. They had to do it twice cause she snapped at everyone and reacted terribly to it.
    Well, anyway she is nine days after the surgery now and is doing great! she has been wearing the cone and we take it off only for her to eat. She looks and feels great. We are supposed to have her wear the cone for four more days. my husband thinks she is fine but I wont take it off, we have two other dogs and I worry about it. she has dissolving stitches because they were not too sure she would not bite them if she had to get the stiches removed. Anyway, Ava had and still has glaucoma which caused the pressure to go really high. She is only six years old.
    The pain she went through before the surgery was awful and I wish I had her eye removed a long time ago. She no longer suffers from headaches like before and wants to run and play now ( of course I limit her activity) We have taken her on a few short walks though for the past few days because she really wanted to release some energy. I hope this helps anyone going through this.
    Missy

  8. Thank you so much for sharing Leo’s story. Our little Boston Sissy is scheduled for an eye removal surgery on Thursday morning due to glaucoma and I have really been freaking out. Sissy is my baby and I want her to feel better and can see from reading Leo’s story that she will be feeling much better in no time. Looking at her right now you can tell she is in pain and that kills me. Thank you for sharing your story, gives me some peace of mind. I am sure I will read it over and over as she is healing. God bless Leo and your family.

    • Jackie…thank you! I hope Sissy’s surgery went well this morning and love hearing that Leo’s story helped. In a couple of days she will be back to her old self, even though we as the pet humans have to make them relax and take it easy for a while so they can heal. Seeing how quickly they bounce back is amazing.

  9. So my chihuahua recently got his right eye removed. He has an Elizabeth collar that attaches with velcro. He does perfectly fine with it all day when I’m with him, but once I lock him up to go too work. That’s a whole different story he always gets it off his neck somehow. Lately I’ve been getting home and it’s still put together like he just slipped it off. I was hoping somebody would give me an idea of what other option I have. Oh and he has also recently learned how to rub his stitches on his eye by rubbing it on a blanket while wearing the Elizabeth collar.😩

  10. Thank you for this blog and for all the pics. It’s making my decision easier having our Boston’s eye removed. Easton is a 6 yr old boston who injured his eye last spring and developed glaucoma and is fully blind in his right eye. We’ve been treating with drops for a year, but it’s time we remove his eye. We don’t let him run too much to not let the eye swell, we are always monitoring what it looks like, and know he’s in a pain, even though he’s always happy and ready to go when we are..
    Still very nervous about it, and are struggling putting him through surgery more than anything. The esthetics of a one-eyed dog don’t bother me as much as him being scared and going through that surgery and recovery. We are meeting with a general vet surgeon, for the surgery even though we have seen a canine ophthalmologist. I’m wondering if the benefits of the specialist for this type of surgery is better than a regular vet?? I just want his experience as least traumatic as possible. I sure hope we have a successful outcome as everyone has had here.

    • It is a very hard decision, but seeing Easton no be in pain anymore once he is healed from the surgery is worth it. I know that we spoke with a few different vets (specialist and regular) and removing an eye is considered a routine surgery like getting a dog neutered (this was their actual comparison). Honestly, I feel that the surgery is more traumatic on us humans than it is on our dogs 🙂 From when Easton has the surgery to when he is healed will pass very quickly and you will be amazed to see how much happier he is when he is not in pain.

      • Thank you very much for your response. We decided to go with the eye specialist since he does at least 2 a week and they were so reassuring. Easton had his surgery today – and apparently all went well. We are picking him up tonight. I’m still pretty emotional, and hope he will be my ‘lil dude’ again soon. I think you’re right about it being traumatic on us humans!! Thank you so much again for your thoughts – really appreciate it. I showed my kids the other night all the pictures of your Leo. This blog has been a great reassurance to us. Thank you so much.

  11. My 12 year old pit mix, Teddy, had his right eye removed due to an ulceration 5 days ago. 2 days after surgery, our beloved 13 year old black Labrador mix, Chelsea, died suddenly from a ruptured abdominal tumor. Teddy had come to us at around 6 days old when the mother of the litter had disappeared. My son and his coworkers found the pups and each pup was adopted on the spot. I bottle fed, spoon fed, and was “mom” to this wonderful creature from 6 ounces to 110 pounds. Chelsea had been a battered shelter dog we adopted and was a scared, timid, but very sweet girl. She came out of her shell when Teddy joined our family and the two of them were inseperable for 12 years. Teddy has gone from a big dog with an even bigger personality to a sad, lethargic, unhappy guy. I don’t know if it is grief or normal post op symptoms. Leo’s story and pictures were very helpful in letting me know what to expect along the way in Teddy’s healing process. He wears the inflatable procollar 24/7 and the e-collar at night, which he broke last night. I am encouraged that my very best friend will regain his spunk although from the sound of it, Leo did not let a missing eye slow him down. Teddy has also developed facial twitching. Is that a normal part of healing?

    • I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Chelsea. Having a family member pass away is very hard. Teddy is probably heartbroken as he did lose his best friend of 12 years. Dogs can get depressed just like humans. Teddy has had a pretty traumatic week, not only having major surgery but also no longer having Chelsea there.
      Teddy’s facial twitching could be as simple as a little nerve damage from the surgery, but I would recommend that if it gets to be more than a twitch definitely talk to your vet. I know with Leo we had been expecting the side of his enucleation to essentially just be blank space and we were very surprised when we found that he still moves his eyebrow and “blinks” at the same time his other eye does. I guess we had expected no movement. Our vet said that if an animal has cancer or something along those lines where they have to remove muscle tissue there will be no movement, but the basic eye removal doesn’t phase the natural instinct of the facial muscles.
      We hope that Teddy’s healing is going well and are so happy that Leo’s story helped. Our hearts also go out to your family in this time of loss.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. My chihuahua Prissy just had this surgery yesterday. We rescued her from the shelter about six months ago. She was heartworm positive and we had her treated, her glaucoma was the next to tackle. She ended up having her right eye removed yesterday. She hasn’t been moving around a whole lot or being very social. I feel guilty for putting her through this. I hope she starts feeling better soon because it breaks my heart to see her in so much pain

    • Thank you so much for being a great person and stepping up to adopt a dog that has medical issues. Far too often the senior and disabled dogs go unnoticed. I know that within just a couple of days Prissy will be feeling better, not 100%, but much better than she is feeling today. With Leo the vet actually kept him overnight after the surgery to keep an eye on him due to his age and them wanting to keep him on pain meds and antibiotics longer. Once she gets back to 100% you will be very glad that you went through with the surgery. This kind of surgery is not only stressful on us humans, but stressful on our pets too, remembering to give a bunch of extra love will help them heal quicker (or at least I think it helps). Please keep me updated on Prissy’s progress.

    • The only fundraiser we did was a Gofundme campaign and I also had all of my sales from my little Etsy shop go directly to Leo’s medical care. We had many wonderful strangers, friends and family members help us out. Had a couple family members that gave us loans to help with Leo’s surgery. We were very grateful. I hope your Jack Russell is doing well and that healing goes well.

      • How is Leo doing. I’m up all night waiting to go get Dinky in AM he hates the cones lol. So it bought a soft might be better. He also is diabetic and is getting chemo. My poor little baby hasn’t had any luck lately. I tried go fund me with no luck. So I found magic bullet fund they are helping with chemo. Great help. But we had this eye removal which is a set back. I’m struggling with paying all of this new stuff thought maybe you had good fund raiser I could try. We have never slept without our little buddy since we have had him. This is tough one. How long ago was Leo surgery. Please keep s updated on his progress. Is other eye good

      • Leo is doing well overall. We have had some medical issues that were finally diagnosed (on Monday of this week) that I will be sharing the story in an upcoming blog in hopes to help other families advocate for their pets. Leo had his enucleation in May of 2013. Leo’s other eye is pretty good. We have no issues like anterior luxation, glaucoma or anything serious like that. Leo does have some normal aging vision loss, but gets around like a champ.

        I am so sorry to hear about Dinky. How old is he? Sounds like you are an amazing pet parent that is trying to do everything possible to keep Dinky happy and healthy for as long as possible. Is Dinky doing well since coming home from surgery? How is the soft cone working? How long have you had Dinky?

    • Leo got the blue bandanna patterned soft Elizabethan collar from the vet as a soft collar is easier on dogs, especially flat faced dogs. Kong does have a Cloud Collar that is softer and easier on dogs than the rigid collars (http://www.chewy.com/dog/kong-cloud-collar-dogs-cats-small/dp/47472?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=KONG&utm_term=&gclid=CjwKEAiA64uyBRCVmKyT2vuAjzgSJADfINB6pIihuLmImXkpL_T1nCdZlHrS-Rx3HpTQiHdGMG6SOBoCcT7w_wcB)

      • Hi there
        My 11 year old Boston was pretty much 80% blind with luxating lenses in both eyes. Today he developed (may have been there for a week but he was at the specialist last week and they said mild inflammation with good pressures) major glaucoma in one eye and the pressure shot up to the 80s-so now they’re talking about removal. It’s breaking my heart as I feel like it may be taking away he last bit of site he has.

      • Ann,

        I am sorry to hear about the situation with your Boston. It is very hard. With Leo, the medications to help with the acute glaucoma weren’t helping and we could clearly see that he was in pain. We chose to have his eye removed because seeing him in pain was heartbreaking. Leo still has vision in his other eye, it isn’t great, but he can see some. I guess looking at it from a human perspective that if it was a situation I was in I would rather have limited vision than be in immense pain all of the time. Our dogs are very adaptable. With Leo one of the things we have done is make sure not to move furniture or stuff around in the house very much as he knows the layout of the house and the yard and can safely maneuver them both without being injured. We have gone on a couple of little trips where we keep a very close eye on him as he will run into things that could potentially injure him. I hope you were able to come up with the best solution to help your Boston. Please keep us updated.

  13. Thanks so much for writing this. My puppy is in vet er right now and getting it removed tomorrow 😦 my young children really benifited from the photos, it can look scary to them (and us adults too) so it was good for them to see what she will look like, but that it does heal. You baby looks so great now, I am anxious to get to that point.

    • I am sorry to hear about your situation, but very glad that Leo’s story is able to help. It is a very scary situation and knowing a little of what to expect really does help. I hope all goes well with the surgery and that your pup heals quickly.

  14. Thank you so much for this information! My little Abby (dachshund) went to the eye specialist today and the pressure in her left eye is not good. It was at 30. The Doctor spoke to me about the options and I just wanted to cry. Hearing that she is in pain and her glaucoma drops have not been helping much. The Doctor recommended Enucleation and a prosthetic eye.

    Seeing your sweet little boy post surgery makes me feel so much better. He looks so happy and like he is enjoying life.

    • Awe. Hearing stories like this is so hard, but knowing Leo’s story has helped is amazing. I hope the surgery goes well for Abby and remember that our little furry family members are very resilient (much better than us whiny humans). The first couple weeks after surgery is challenging, but they heal very quickly, plus seeing Abby not be in pain anymore from the eye pressure will make it all worth it. Please keep us updated on Abby’s progress and thank you for sharing her story.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing this story! My poodle had her left eye out 10 days ago – and so far all is going wonderfully! She is adjusting so well. Your blog really helped me prepare for the op.
    I have a question – how long did you wait before you bathed your dog after the op.

    • I am so happy to hear that Leo’s story helped and that your girl is doing wonderful after her surgery. With Leo I made sure to give him a bath the day before surgery as I knew it would be a while before I could do it again. We waited to give him another bath until about a week after the sutures were removed and only made sure to be very careful when washing his face. I used a warm, slightly damp washcloth as I didn’t want to hurt him or have too much water around the surgery area (even though it was healed).

  16. Thank you for posting that. We have a dog undergoing this surgery and seeing what your dog went through really decreased our anxiety.

  17. Thank you Roxanne and Leo for your story. Like so many others it has helped a great deal reading your story. My 12 year old Chloe baby is headed into the Rocklin Eye center here in town to be seen for glaucoma. She has been on meds all week long. Two of meds you mentioned in your blog. It is a serious case and I know she will have to have her eye removed. My fear is that my husband will want to put her down due to her age, cost, two sons in college and a recovery lay-off that we’ve been in. Chloe is a beauiful buff colored cocker spaniel that is a sweet baby girl. I can’t imagine putting her down yet. I did not read every single response, but can you give me an idea of your cost you paid a few years ago. I will know very soon, but I’m hoping it’s adorable.
    I hope and pray Leo is doing well, even without his eye. Has he been diagnosed in his other eye?

    • K. Martin,

      I am so sorry to hear about Chloe. You said Rocklin Eye Center, so I am assuming you are in California. We too live on the west coast in beautiful central Oregon. Vet services in our area can be very expensive. When Leo’s emergency happened we had only been living in Oregon for a few months and did not have him set up with a local vet. I came home, saw his eye, and literally called the first vet I could think of (as it was the vet that I drove by to and from work everyday and was the closest to our house). At that point in time my concern was Leo, so I didn’t shop around to find a more reasonably priced vet. The vet office that cared for Leo is one of the more expensive ones in our town. Leo’s total expenses, from initial emergency visit, medications, follow-up visits, pre-surgery check-up, surgery with two nights stay at vet (the night prior to surgery and after surgery), all medications, and post surgery visits came up to just under $2,000…ouch, but Leo was in very good hands and healed perfectly. We did not have an extra $2,000 sitting around, so I was very humbled and ran a GoFundMe campaign to help cover Leo’s vet care and surgery. We had to go this route as we were not approved for Care Credit. Thankfully many friends, family and strangers stepped up and donated money to help Leo out…we are very lucky and Leo is very loved. I couldn’t imagine putting a family member down just because of an eye issue. I would recommend applying for Care Credit, starting a funding campaign (if you do please share link and I will help spread the word), there are also quite a few places that can help. Helpful links: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_veterinary_care.html http://www.animalnetwork.org/AnimalNetwork/VetMedical/Funding_VetMedOrganizations.htm

      Leo is doing well overall. He was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease about 8 months ago. He is having some complications associated with the Cushing’s, but overall he is doing amazing. He has not been diagnosed with any issues in his other eye, yet…fingers crossed. Leo’s vision is limited in that eye due to age.

      Please keep us updated on Chloe’s situation.

      • I am happy to report that Chloe has responded very well to the meds, which was a surprise because her left eye still looks red and engorged, but has drained to the levels they like to see. It has decreased so much that the vet would like to just treat her with meds and no discussion of surgery just yet. The vet also mentioned another procedure they do that entails sticking a needle in Chloe’s eye to drain it, but it would need to be done every 3-6 months. The vet wants to see Chloe monthly to treat the good eye, which she can see about 20%. Appointment only set me back $230 Yaaay!!!

        Thank you again, Roxanne for your blog!!! I’m sorry to hear of Leo’s Cushing’s Disease. I hope he overcomes the complications and is back to his normal self soon. Our furry friends are our kiddos and mean the world to us, so I understand.
        Thank you again!!!

      • That is awesome! I am so glad she is responding to the meds so well. With Leo he responded to the meds well at first, then we were not able to maintain his pressure and he was in a lot of pain. I hope that the medications continue to work for miss Chloe. The needle in the eye option made me shutter.

        Leo turned 13 in the beginning of March and for his age is doing remarkably well. He has great energy and spunk (his Cushing’s medication has helped incredibly). Fur babies are just that, our kids. Leo is the love of my life.

  18. Thank you for this blog post…written over 3 years ago but perfect for me and my family here and now.

    Schatzi, our 9-month Standard Schnauzer puppy (30 lbs) was is a horrible accident 4 days ago that cut her face and her left eye. Af the suggestion of our local pet ER, we drove from our rural home in Northern Utah to a Dog Ophthalmologist located 100 miles away in Salt Lake City. We arrived at 2:30 a.m. and the amazing staff turned out to come help us. Within minutes they were in surgery and we were praying/hoping for the best outcome.

    Unfortunately Schatzi’s eye injury was too severe to save. At 4:00 a.m. they ruled the injury too severe and recommended removal instead. To do otherwise would be sentencing the dog to a lifetime of pain and medication. So there in a moment we decided to remove her eye.

    And so began our journey to find healing on many badly needed levels. Now, just days after the enucleation, I already see my dog’s personality largely unaffected. I hope and pray that my spirit recovers as quickly as it seems her body will.

    This post has lifted my spirits that even though we are on the front side of this mountain to climb together, that this pup and I have a long and happy road ahead of us.

    Thank you to the author and to the many who have commented and shared here. May God bless you all.

    • Jacob,
      I am so sorry to hear about what Schatzi and you guys have had to go through. Very hard. I love hearing that you are a family that will do whatever it takes to help your fur kid and that you had such a great medical team there to help once you arrived in SLC. Glad to hear that the surgery went well and that Schatzi is quickly rebounding. Thankfully Schatzi is young still so she will heal very quick (probably) and she will also adjust to not having that eye very quickly. Our dogs are so resilient. At times I look back and feel like adjusting to Leo’s enucleation was harder on us than on him. Yes, the first few days with the pain was very hard on him…but emotionally, we humans are weak. I am so happy that Leo’s story was able to help lift your spirits. We love knowing that he has been able to touch so many lives and help so many people going through the same situation. Best wishes to Schatzi and you, please keep us updated.

  19. Like you I have two Bostons and they are our (husband and me) our children. My 13 yr old went through this with 1 eye about 5 yrs ago.Now my 12 year old has had a double eye removal and I find it very different. Tougher. He was a very energetic boy. 3 days post-op I am left wondering how he will do with his recovery. He was totally blind in both eyes and was diagnosed at 4 years old so he was 99% blind if not completely blind by the time he had this operation. I thought that being blind previously would help him recover. Not so at least this far. He will no longer go to the bathroom in the area we have had designated for them since puppies. He doesn’t ask for anything at all anymore. He just seems so insecure. I wonder if anyone can give me an estimate of what it took for recovery once a double enucleation was done. He has always been a cautious dog because of his blindness but he knew our house and yard so well that he even trotted though the house. Now he turns the wrong way and he doesn’t even trust my voice anymore. Am I expecting too much too soon?

    • I am so sorry to hear about your situation. I would bet that he may have been able to see tiny amounts of light, maybe not shapes or figures, but specks of light and now without his eyes he of course can’t see anything. I would also guess that right now he is still in a lot of pain and being an old dog that is in pain can be very challenging. He is probably afraid to run into anything as he knows it will hurt and maybe that is why he is being so cautious and not using the designated potty area. I hope that now he is a few more days post surgery his pain level has decreased and that he is being more active and brave. We only have experience with removing one eye, and know how much Leo was hurting afterwards, can only imagine how much having both removed at the same time hurts. Please keep us updated on his progress

  20. I have a teacup who was attacked and had to have both of her eyes removed. I am scared to death but will wait on her hand and foot to make her comfortable. She’s been out of surgery for 24 hrs almost and is home now. Has anyone had this problem.”?

    • How old is your teacup? I know that age sometimes does play a role in healing time and adjusting to the new circumstances. Leo took a while to adjust after his surgery, but healed pretty quickly. Leo is now mostly blind in his “good/only” eye, so we make sure to keep things in the house pretty simple and not move furniture around and whatnot. I know that TJ, the person who commented before you, just went through a double enucleation with their Boston, but it was also a senior pet and has been struggling with adjusting. I love that you will be there to support your fur baby and wait on her hand and foot…that is exactly what she needs right now. Right now she is hurting, scared, everything has changed, so she needs you to be her strength, her eyes, her support, her calm. Being supportive and acting calmly upon the first few days at home and during the healing process will really make her adjustment much easier…not only for the short-term, but in the long run too. Please keep us updated and thank you for sharing your story.

  21. Thank you for this wonderful story of Leo and his adorable pictures! I have a 5 year old Boston Terrier named Toby whose eyes look exactly like Leo’s did before the surgery. It is so disheartening for my family and I to think of him only having one eye open for the rest of his life. The eye specialist has recommended to remove the eye and stitch the eyelids shut, or place a prosthetic eye in place of his bad eye. However the prosthetic she will be placing if we choose that option allows my dog to blink and move the fake eye. It seems to me from what I’ve read from other sources that this prosthetic option can be problematic because it can still cause bad ulcers and infections. Would you recommend that we go for the prosthetic option and still close the lids shut as you did? In other words, did you have the option of leaving the prosthetic eye open and made the decision to close it to avoid these infections? I didn’t realize until now that in Boston Terriers there might be a very hollow space with no eye at all since they already have such large eyes. Thank you!

    • We chose to do the prosthetic with Leo for the cosmetic purposes as you did state that Boston’s do have very large eyes and it would leave a hollowed out looking area. Personally our vet recommended against doing a prosthetic and not having the lids shut as it can cause a lot of issues with bacteria, etc. We are very glad that we did the prosthetic and had Leo’s lids shut as he just kind of looks like he is always winking. We did, about seven months after his surgery have an issue with that side of his face as it ended up becoming very swollen out of nowhere. We of course immediately took him to the vet and they explained that sometimes a little bacteria can live dormant behind the prosthetic and then “wake up” causing an issue…he was easily treated with pain medication and antibiotics. We have not had an issue since. Personally, I would recommend getting the prosthetic and having the lids shut as it is cosmetically pleasing and a little safer/healthier for the dog. Even with the lids sewn shut your dog will still be able to move his brow and make the blinking motion (like when we close our eyes and still blink with them closed). Hope this helps and I apologize for the very late response, it is the final week of summer term and my m-i-l passed away on Saturday…so we’ve been dealing with quite a bit. Please let me know if you have any more questions and keep us updated on Toby’s situation.

  22. This has been so helpful. Baxter goes in tomorrow for his eye removal. I had found your page earlier this year when we knew it was a possibility, and I remembered it after setting the appointment up today and revisited. I also really appreciate the pictures. If I wasn’t prepared to see him after surgery tomorrow, I might have been a total mess. I still might, but knowing what to expect really helps. Thank you again! ❤

  23. Thank you so much for sharing Leo’s story. My dog had this procedure on Monday, 8-22-16. I have been searching for pictures of what to expect. I cannot begin to tell you how much your post has helped me. It’s a very stressful time and you just don’t know what to expect. My dog Maggie is doing well. Very active four days out. Trying to keep her quiet is a full time job. Leo looks great!

    • I hope Maggie’s healing has continued to go well and am very glad that Leo’s story helped. Once they start feeling better, trying to keep them still is a real challenge. I know as an overprotective pet parent, even after Leo was completely healed I kept a very close eye on him and was worried every time he wanted to play…took a while for me to get over my own fear for him.

  24. Thank you, helpful. Going through trying to make a decision today for our girl Chloe. Prosthetic verses having the eye stitched. Surgery scheduled for tomorrow.

    • What kind of dog is Chloe? We chose to do the prosthetic with Leo as Boston Terriers have such large eyes that we thought not having the prosthetic would look strange, void even. So we did the prosthetic as it is cosmetically appealing for his breed and make him look like he is just having a constant wink. We did have an issue with his prosthetic about 6 month later as that whole side of his face swelled up. We immediately took him to the vet, they gave him antibiotics and pain meds. They explained that bacteria can live dormant behind the prosthetic for months and then cause an issue/infection. Thankfully within just a couple of days the swelling went down and we’ve not had any issues at all since. Has been over 3 years at this point and that was the only time we had a problem with it. Please keep us updated on what you chose and how Chloe’s surgery goes.

  25. I know this an older article but I ran across it after we were given the news. Oinks is a 6 year old Boston who 4 years ago attempted to remove her eye while digging under our fence to get to the neighbor’s trash. So we were familiar with nasty eye injuries. This morning I woke up to find Oinks winking at me. Her left eye was significantly larger than the right and when she opened it the eye was super cloudy and red. I was thinking she scratched it or had an infection. I brought her to the vet and he took one look and had that look like *oh shit* he then says this is bad. He took her to the back and returned to inform me the pressure on her left side are very high and she has ulcers on the eye and the eye lid. She has probably lost some of her eye sight and is in a ton of pain. Honestly I was shocked it seemed to come out of no where. I knew she wasn’t feeling well because she wasn’t licking everyone to the bone and wasn’t acting as jazzed up as she normally does. He gave me three meds to administer to the eyes three times a day. He also said the only real fix for the eye was to remove it. I’ve seen plenty of dogs with one eye and at one point I was sure we were going to have one of those dogs. I am upset but I want to best for her too. So thank you. I read this and the other people who have posted and feel a little better. Next week we meet with the specialist to discuss further treatment including surgery.

    • Robin, sorry for my late response. I hope Oinks is doing well and that you guys were able to come up with a game plan with the specialist. With Leo the meds they gave to help him with pain and pressure only worked for a very limited time, so surgery was the best option. It was amazing to see how much better he was feeling within just a few days of surgery in comparison to how he felt prior to the surgery. Our vet gave us that “oh shit” look too when it came to Leo…a look pet parents never want to see. Please keeps us updated on Oinks, I always love to hear the follow-up story.

  26. he is gorgeous as!!!! my wee luke has had both his eyes removed due to that nasty glaucoma 😔
    his new wee face is cuter than ever!!!

  27. Hi thank you for this really useful story and photos. Our dog had this operation yesterday for similar reasons and we were worried about the swelling. We feel much happier seeing it is the same as your lovely dog. Happy Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.

  28. Thank you so much for this! My baby girl just went through this surgery last night, she, a Boston as well, lost her right eye!

  29. Thank you for the post and pictures i go pick up my baby girl at 9 this morning she is a poodle who had to have her eyeball removed due to Glucom. I am so scared to pick her up but I feel a little more at ease seeing and reading this. God Bless u for sharing g this and helping me to prepare for her coming home today

  30. Thank you for sharing this – it is so reassuring to all of us going through the same thing. Knowing what to expect from a pet owner’s perspective eases the panic we feel. My Boston Terrier boy is 14 and has something very bad going on in his eye, most likely glaucoma and/or cancer. He sees a vet. ophthalmologist in a few days. I expect she will recommend removal of the eye. I’m very worried about risks of surgery at his age, but can’t bear to see him in pain from his eye issues which will only get worse. Thanks again for this great information and sharing your story.

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