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Medical treatment options for corneal ulcers in dogs

Downtown Charlotte, NC

Joshua J. Broadwater, DVM, DACVO, outlines the do's and don'ts of treating corneal ulcers in dogs

According to Joshua J. Broadwater, DVM, DACVO, with Charlotte Animal Referral & Emergency in North Carolina, important considerations when faced with corneal ulcers are their depth and if the dogs' ulcers are infected. Then, you can focus on treatment, he said in this dvm360® interview, adding his advice on effective therapies.

Broadwater will be delivering ophthalmology lectures at our Fetch Charlotte conference taking place March 15-17, 2024. Register here today to secure your spot.

The following is a partial transcript of the video.

Joshua J. Broadwater, DVM, DACVO: Rule number one, treat or prevent an infection from occurring. Rule number two, treat the pain...What owners will say is, 'No, I think [my pet] is fine. He's not in pain, he's just squinting the eye really hard.' Well, what would you do if your eye hurt? You would be squinting, you would be tearing, you would be rubbing your eye. So, we have to treat that pain.

The way that we treat that is [with] topical medications like atropine that paralyzes those ciliary spasms that cause the headaches. It can also help decrease some of the inflammation inside the eye when you have a breach of that blood aqueous barrier that causes inflammation inside the eye.

Then, don't be afraid to use oral medications as well. These things are painful. So, we want to treat that pain that's there. Whatever oral medication that you would want to use, that may be gabapentin that may be tramadol, anything that you would want to treat these [with].

We also want to treat the inflammation that's inside the eye. Because these things can get worse from a pain perspective, just from the inflammation and the uveitis that's inside the eye. So, you may be able to use oral NSAIDs as well, I would stay away from topical NSAIDs because there's the thought that maybe those would help the inflammation. But, there's some studies that may suggest that that a topical NSAID may increase the risk of an infection developing in the cornea. So, we tend to stay away from topical NSAIDs in the face of an ulcer, oral NSAIDs are absolutely fine to use.

If interested in learning more on this topic, Broadwater discusses the causes of corneal ulcers in dogs in a respective dvm360 interview.

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