Enophthalmos in Dogs

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Overview of Canine Enophthalmos

Enophthalmus is a displacement of the eyeball backwards into the orbit. This can be seen in dogs and depending on the underlying cause, different ages and breeds are affected. Some dog owners refer to exophthalmus as a “sunken eye”. In some dogs, the eye abnormal eye will appear smaller. 

General Causes of Enophthalmos in Dogs

  • Ocular (eye) pain
  • Eyelid irritation, foreign body, corneal ulceration
  • Microphthalmia – congenitally small globe/eyeball)
  • Phthisis bulbi – irreversible ocular damage resulting in shrinkage of the eye)
  • Collapsed globe
  • Horner’s syndrome – loss of a part of the innervation to the eye)
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of orbital fat or muscle
  • Conformational (normal anatomy) in long-nosed (dolichocephalic) breeds
  • What to Watch For

  • Drooping of the upper eyelid
  • Third eyelid protrusion
  • Extraocular (outside or surrounding the eye) muscle atrophy
  • Entropion (turning inward of the eyelid margin)
  • Diagnosis of Enophthalmos in Dogs

    A thorough ocular evaluation is of paramount importance. Additional tests include:

  • Complete blood cell count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Fluorescein evaluation of the cornea and thorough evaluation of the entire globe
  • Thoracic (chest) +/- cervical (neck) radiographs (X-rays) in cases of Horner’s syndrome
  • Treatment of Enophthalmos in Dogs

    Depending on the underlying cause, specific therapy may be indicated:

  • Intravenous fluid therapy and support may be indicated in patients that are dehydrated due to an inability to eat and drink
  • Elizabethan collar to discourage additional self trauma
  • Treat corneal ulceration if present
  • Assess patients recent weight history and address if marked recent weight loss
  • Hot packing the eye if associated eyelid inflammation is present
  • Home Care and Prevention 

    Administer all medication as directed by your veterinarian and return for follow up.

    Due to the many causes of enophthalmus, there is no specific preventative care.

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