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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 18138
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My labador has in the last week developed her right eye seems

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My labador has in the last week developed her right eye seems smaller than her left and there is a hollow developed above her eye . Can this be serious . She is 9 years old
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your girl Akeela's right eye seems smaller and that there appears to be a hollow above her eye.There are a few things that may be causing what you are seeing.Is she able to eat and drink normally?Is she able to blink her right eye normally?Does her eye look like this? (Notice that the dog's right eye, on your left side, has a droopy upper eyelid, the eye seems pulled back into the head, the third eyelid is raised and the pupil or center dark area is small compared to the other eye) so this is Horner's syndrome and is related to nerve inflammation or damage to the nerves that control the eyelids and pupil size. The bundle of nerves that are responsible for this leaves the spinal cord in the chest area, travels through the chest, up along the neck and through the middle ear to the eye. If any sort of trauma or pressure/inflammation occurs anywhere along the way we can have Horner's Syndrome.Facial nerve paralysis can cause them to have trouble blinking, a droopy ear, lip and facial muscles on that side of the face (thus the hollowed appearance above her eye). They can close their mouth but everything looks droopy, much like a person with a stroke. Common reasons for this to occur include a middle ear infection causing the nerve to be inflamed, as the nerve runs right by the inner ear, or idiopathic facial nerve paralysis, which means we don't know why but the facial nerve becomes inflamed and we see the effects. Dogs with an inner ear infection (otitis media) will often have a raised third eyelid and a pupil that is smaller then the other, nonaffected eye (thus the smaller looking eye) because they have Horner's syndrome.These dogs may or may not recover and if they don't you will need to use artificial tears in the affected eye so your pup doesn't get a corneal ulcer from not blinking. If this is related to an inner ear infection the quicker the infection is resolved the better chance we have of resolving the issue. Trigeminal nerve damage can be caused by trauma, or a tumor. These dogs truly cannot close their mouths or blink their eyes if all branches of the nerve are affected. Treatment is the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, artificial tears to keep the cornea moist and help eating and drinking if necessary. If this is only related to trauma then they should improve in a month or two and most recover completely within 6 months. If this is related to a tumor then they will not improve. Akeela should see her veterinarian so we can differentiate between the two types of nerve disease and get her treated as necessary.In the meantime if she cannot blink use artificial tears (available at the drugstore, the same type used for people) in affected eye to keep it moist, and if she is having trouble eating you may need to hand feed her gruel.Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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