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After three weeks of treatment by our family vet for an inflamed right eye, yesterday we finally got Joker to a veterinary ophthalmologist. He has been squinting a lot, pawing at his eye, and the third eyelid has been visible a good bit, with some redness around the lower eyelid. Our vet has treated this as an infection - various medicated drops, eyewashes, and even an oral antibiotic, all without much change in the condition.

The diagnosis by the ophthalmologist is a "superficial erosion laterally in the cornea. Vascularization is present but the overlying epithelium was loose and non-adherent." To treat it, she did the following: "Corneal epithelium derided and burr keratectomy performed." The notes sent home say, "The burr keratectomy roughens the corneal surface and helps the epithelium adhere." My boy is now on Tramadol for pain and antibiotic drops to prevent infection while his eye heals. I include all of this for those who know more about canine eye problems. This is corneal ulcers or erosions are apparently common in older dogs and especially so in Goldens. She was baffled by the treatment with oral antibiotics and the various solutions our vet had prescribed, knowing they would do no good.

We are alternating among raging frustration, deep relief and sheer joy. Our family vet has charged around $500 for treating the wrong thing! We have been so very worried that Joker's eye wasn't improving and I had begun to fear an underlying neurological problem, given his age of almost 13. Then there's the fact that my boy has endured so much discomfort from the exams and mistaken treatments. The veterinary ophthalmologist charged around $360 - less than the cumulative bills from the family vet - and now my boy should get better.

If he paws at his eye or rubs it, Joker may have to wear the dreaded cone, but I hope the Tramadol will keep him sleepy enough that we won't have to take that step. He has worn a cone quite enough in his life.

This experience makes me echo something posted in another thread: For eye problems, get your dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist, not your family vet! I had urged our vet to refer us to the ophthalmologist a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't put my foot down firmly enough and all of us have paid a price for it. :doh: I'm kicking myself for this and won't make the same mistake again.

The storm called Snowquester by the local press has closed my office and given me an excuse to stay home with my boy today. He'll be getting extra cuddles for sure.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear you had to deal with that, especially with having your regular vet treat it wrong!
Toby had that, too. We went to the ophthamologist, and he did exactly what Joker is having done.
Also....he gave us eye drops with adequan in them. It apparently helps the healing process, and keeps it from forming again. I told a couple of (vet) friends that, they've tried it with dogs who have recurring corneal erosions, and it has made a world of difference.
 

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Poor Joker. I'm sorry you had to spend so much time and money before getting a correct DX. I hope he feels better fast.
Thank you for posting this. I've been on the fence about when is the right time to see an ophthalmologist for Bentley for the first exam. His Vet said 2 years is when he should go but after reading this forum I was thinking one year. Now I'm convinced one year is when Bentley will go. I want to keep a close eye on his eyes.

With my bridge GR Buddy we went through a rough period and the Vet was going in the wrong direction for about a month. After we finally got a DX the Vet refunded us some money for all of the unnecessary office visits and tests. We just used it as credit since we of course kept the same Vet.
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm so sorry to hear you had to deal with that, especially with having your regular vet treat it wrong!
Toby had that, too. We went to the ophthamologist, and he did exactly what Joker is having done.
Also....he gave us eye drops with adequan in them. It apparently helps the healing process, and keeps it from forming again. I told a couple of (vet) friends that, they've tried it with dogs who have recurring corneal erosions, and it has made a world of difference.
Thanks for the tip about adequate, Barb. Joker gets injections of it for arthritis and the ophthalmologist knew that, so maybe she didn't think he needed more. I'll ask here when he sees her again in a couple of weeks, or maybe even sooner if he isn't healing quickly.

After last year's vet bills, in the fall I finally got health insurance for Joker. It doesn't cover pre-existing conditions, of course, but it should cover this. Even with a $500 deductible, I should get some money back, especially given follow-up visits yet to come. I'm feeling lucky that Trupanion will cover a dog starting at over 12 years old!

On the bright side, before we put Joker on the antibiotics we had blood tests done to check his overall health and to test for TBD, given his great escape to the woods back in January. The results all came back looking very good, which is a huge relief.
 

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I'm sorry to hear about Joker's eye issues, but I'm glad he's on the mend! I agree- for eye issues run to an ophthalmologist as fast as you can! We needed a referral to get into the ophthalmologist we use, but now that Toby's been a patient for 9 years, they said Yogi can come in for his CERFs and for emergency situations. If I do suspect anything going on with Toby's eyes and if it is on a weekend when the eye clinic is closed, I go first to our regular vet for basic exams and pressure checks. Our vet can tell me if I need to call the eye clinic's 24 hour emergency number at that point.
 

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Oh no! How scary!

I am sorry that the vet was on the wrong track:( We have to remember that they are all human even specialists.
I am sure that if the situation was reversed Joker would have followed the same path so please know you did all that you could have with what you knew at the time.

May you be over the bumps now and have a smooth recovery ahead.
GOOD luck precious Joker!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your support, friends.

Joker's eye is looking much better and he is actually leaving it alone now, so the dread cone has not come out of storage. As I often tell Joker, he is The Best Dog in the World. ;) He enjoyed the bit of snow that we got from Snowquester, but I think the promise of spring has put an extra bounce in his step. That gives me so much joy!
 

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How's Joker doing?
Thanks for asking and for the candle you lit for my boy.

Joker is doing much better. His eye looks normal most of the time, though we still see a bit of the third eyelid now and then. He still gets drops in the eye twice a day to prevent infection, but his behavior is pretty normal. He is playful, mischievous, and eager to be outdoors when the weather is nice. I love his wag-tail greetings and nuzzling for attention.

It is so hard to see them age, though. He struggles a bit with stairs (and does't want me to see that) and I see a tremor in his hind legs now and then that worries me. I am eager for warmer weather to come so that we can enjoy some time outdoors and I hope to get him to the ocean, in hopes that he can enjoy it again.

Hugs to you and Hannah,
Lucy
 

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I'm so happy to see that he's improving bit by bit and hasn't needed the cone of shame :) It sounds like he's feeling good and that's so important.

The colder weather has been hard on my girl this year and it's been frustrating, because I can see the change in her once the day warms up. Those warmer temps will be here before we know it - in the meantime, hopefully the longer days will keep he and Sunny on their toes.
 
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