Enucleation – Not As Terrible As it Sounds

The vet made a face when looking at Gus’ left eye during his annual check-up. He made weird clucking noises. He looked at it from different angles and kept shining his very bright light at it for a very long time. This doesn’t look good, he said, and pointed out to Gus' owner what looked like a small marble inside her dog's eye, pushing against the iris.



A trip to a doggie ophthalmologist followed. It was, in turn, followed by an estimate for $1,300 . . . and the news that Gussie's eye needed to be removed. Enucleation, or the removal of an eye, is often necessary after an injury or, in this case, when a tumor is detected. The black marble in Gus' eye was a melanocytic tumor formed by abnormal melanocytes -- cells that produce a pigment called melanin. After a clear chest x-ray to rule out cancer, Gus went for a second opinion from a general veterinary surgeon with great skill and experience. Her estimate was half the cost of the specialist's.




Gus is a nine-year-old Golden retriever who lives with two ex-racing greyhounds and a parade of SHUG foster dogs. He is a good-natured and an all-around great guy! Here he is, happily checking into the vet hospital. It was very difficult to see him wagging his tail and cheerful, when his owner knew the disfiguring surgery that was ahead.



So this is why we’re writing this blog post – as horrible as it sounds to have a dog’s eye removed, they generally heal very well and adjust quickly. If you’re facing a similar prospect – whether the eye removal is for glaucoma, cancer, injury or other reasons – you can take heart from Gus’ experience.



gus2Here he is just hours after his surgery. The bandage with the heavy packing in the empty space of the eye is very important to keep swelling down and to absorb seeping blood. Gus HATED his bandage. The cone was mostly to keep him away from the bandage. He was a pretty miserable guy for the first day. He was on two different pain medicines (tramadol and rimadyl, as well as an antibiotic.) He was kept quiet and given small meals. The vet wanted the bandage to stay on for 24 to 48 hours. Gus tolerated it for 36 and then demanded it come off.



gus3Here is Gus with the bandage removed. The scar looks angry and red, but there is no discharge.



Within just a few more days, the redness was fading quickly.




In a few more days it was looking significantly better, and Gus seemed to feel himself again. After this picture was taken (right), Gus got to jettison the cone as he never did show any inclination to fuss with his incision.



Below, here he is at just shy of two weeks post-op. He was completely back to his normal activities. He got his stitches removed shortly after. Gus did not get an “orbital implant” to fill gus6in the void left by the eye removal. It’s only done for cosmetic reasons and the surgeon didn’t recommend it.



Here is Gus, lower right – stitches out and hair growing back. He has no worries about his loss of peripheral vision, doesn’t have obvious issues with depth perception, and does not startle if you come from his left. The pathology report did come back malignant, but the surgeon is confident she got all of the tumor.



gusphotolastToday one-eyed Gus is doing just fine – and tolerating the pirate jokes with good cheer. The moral of the story – an enucleation is much more disturbing to you than your dog. If you need to have it done, rest easy that it won’t be as bad as it sounds.




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69 thoughts on “Enucleation – Not As Terrible As it Sounds
  1. Excellent post Holly. One-eyed Gus is kind of a jaunty name for him. Lends a degree of intrigue!!

    1. Thank you so much for publishing Gus’s journey. My fur baby (Stuey) has just had exactly the same operation and I’ve been in pieces over my decision to go ahead and have his eye removed. However, reading Gus’s story fills me with hope (and tears of joy). Stuey is in early recovery as only had his operation 3 days ago but I can see similarities in his recovery to Gus’s. Thank you again as you have undoubtedly put my mind at rest!

  2. My Dog had his right eye removed and it’s still seeping a lot and it’s 5 days post surgery. I don’t believe this is normal. The swelling hasn’t even gone down a bit. I don’t know what is normal. I’m freaking out over here. His whole right side has thick dried blood on it because it’s constantly seeping. He will not let me keep a warm compress on it. I don’t know what to do anymore. I will be bringing him in to see his vet tomorrow. I’m so worried he botched up the surgery. I look at pics online and there is no dog out there that looks as bad as mine does right now. I just wish the bleeding will stop. Very scared that I made the wrong choice to have his eye removed.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your dog’s issue. My dog, Gus, (the dog in the story) was markedly better by five days. But every dog is different. I would suggest just keeping him quiet and hope for answers from the vet tomorrow. Good luck.

      Holly Harrington

    2. How is your puppy’s eye to this day? I’m taking my boy Porter in to have his eye removed this morning and I’m sick to my stomach. I’m questioning my dr idiom n just filled with worry. Was wondering if your pup has fully recovered.

      1. So sorry to read about your dog.
        Did you go ahead w the surgery?
        My small dog is 14, and was diagnosed with a bacterial ulcer. I’m treating it with 2 antibiotics 24/7 from today, (Sat) until Monday, when the vet will examine my dog, and determine if he will Ned surgery to remove his eye. I certainly don’t want to euthanize him, but at age 14, I’m concerned about recovery, and if I’m making the best decision for him?
        He has very little vision in his other eye, and again I’m thinking about his age.
        He’s being treated for thyroid issues, and is in beginning stage of Kidney issues. My vet is a well known doctor, has been written about in magazines, as being one of the best doctors. He treat our city Police dogs. He has numerous awards. He doesn’t seem concerned about going forward w removing my dogs eye.
        Can you or anyone offer advice?
        Thank you for any help you may contribute.

      2. I saw your post from April and was wondering how things went with Porter. We (Cocoa and I) were informed yesterday that her left eye should be removed due to glaucoma. She had cataract surgery in April on both eye and the left one has developed some real problems. I am going through what you expressed in your April post. I don’t know if you will receive this message…or if you can share what your experience was, but I am looking for as much information as possible. I hope you’ve had a happy ending. I’d really appreciate any insight you can give me. Thanks very much!

        1. I would think the cost would vary considerably by area of country. I did get an estimate from a specialist, but ultimately went with a general surgeon, who did a nice job.

          Holly Harrington

        2. I just got a quote of $1400 from an Ophthalmologist. It includes the pathology report(which helps with the other eye and the true diagnosis. It also includes the follow up visit. Hope this helps

  3. My boston terrier is 13, she is having eye removed because of ulcers and infection. I’m concerned about the surgery because of her age. Anyone have a dog thats had this surgery at a similar age?

  4. My dog has the same thing, a tumor growing behind his iris. We are having his eye and the tumor removed in three days, thank you for this post. It was very reassuring. I know you wrote this years ago so you may never see this, but wanted to say thank you anyway.

  5. I know this story was posted years ago now, so you may never see this comment but I had to write to you. My 11 1/2 year old Chihuahua had to have her eye removed as an emergency two nights ago. Apparently there was pressure built up behind the eye, and it actually popped out. It was the scariest, most upsetting situation I have ever dealt with. She seems to be doing better (I think we Fur-Parents take it harder), but I still worry for her. Your story made me feel comfort that my sweet girl will be happy and continue her life as she did before the eye removal. So thank you for sharing.

      1. I’m afraid I don’t remember. Plus, it was some years ago. I think it was around $1,000.

        Holly Harrington

    1. I have a shihtzu that’s 6 month his eye is popping out I will be taking him to the emergency tomorrow I’m sure he would need that eye removed, I am so scared of what they might tell me, I’m hoping is not a tumor can someone tell me if there’s a chance I could lose him . I am so scared I have never been in a situation like this with any of my babies. I dont want to lose him he’s the sweetest and gentle baby doesn’t deserve to go thru this.

    2. Thank you this is all very interesting my chihuahua colors in this morning for an eye removal after being in a car accident which left my husband on life support and him swollen brain. Your articles made me feel a little bit better just hoping that all goes well thank you so much he’s in surgery as we speak I can’t wait to see him .!!!

  6. Thank you for posting this. Our golden retriever Duncan will have his eye removed next week and this story made me feel so much better. Thank you again! <3 xoxo

  7. Anyone have to have both of their dog’s eyes removed? My dog Max is a black labradoodle and is twelve years old. He developed diabetes when he was 8 and I have given him insulin injections every twelve hours since then. Then he developed cataracts and now glaucoma. He is already totally blind and doing OK so that isn’t my worry. My concern is that he has healed poorly from other minor surgeries the past 5 years due to his diabetes. I worry with his age and his diabetes that his eye sockets might not heal. Anyone go through this with an older, diabetic dog? Thanks.

    1. Did your sweet dog have the surgery? If so, how did it go? My relatively healthy 11-year-old Chow had an eye removed last week due to acute glaucoma. She is doing well. I am concerned that she is at high risk for disease in the other eye I am not sure what will happen if she needs another surgery at 13. Her surgery was about $1000.

  8. I am considering removal surgery for my dog who has glaucoma. It is very pricey with the eye specialist. Thank you for this, maybe I’ll get a second opinion.

    1. I received a diagnosis from an eye specialist, but had the surgery done at a very good surgical center with a general surgeon. It was less expensive, and I thought the surgery went just fine.

      Holly Harrington

  9. My pug had an ear infection that was poorly treated and he subsequently had a stroke, causing right side paralysis. The paralysis caused his eye not to be able blink causing dry corneal ulcer. Black dog, black eyes not easily detected. I expect when we return Mon. the vet will confirm the worst. Your story has comforted me as I feel guilty for not catching his eye ulcer. So glad Gus is well, I hope Lucas will do as well. Thanks for story!

  10. Hi thank you for everyone comments. My 12yr old shitz just had her eye removed. My shepherd and her were playing and the fag of my shepherd caught and pulled her eye. My shitz had no feeling before surgery was actually trying to play. It’s been two days now and she is adapting quite well. This cost me 2200 Canadian dollars most places ran up as high as 3500. Pets are family, my shepherd has not left her side. Her name is Kia and she is doing much better then her momma. ❤️

  11. I stumbled across this when looking for solutions to my own dog’s eye removal. To answer anyone’s questions who may find this later, he is a 13-year-old Yorkie. His eye was somehow scratched or bitten by my large Great Pyrenees/Lab puppy. I knew right away it was horrible. She ruptured his cornea, and his eye was leaking clear fluid. He screamed for just a bit, and then he was quite calm. I think maybe he just had so much scar tissue in that eye because he had some ulcers on it just a few months ago.

    I think I took the whole thing worse than he did. I was traumatized and in quite a bit of shock.

    We rushed him within the first two minutes to the vet. Since it was the emergency vet, I supposed it was almost double what it would have cost at the regular vet. I paid about $1,400. It was a shock in and of itself, but I knew he needed immediate and urgent care.

    I picked him up this morning, and he has on a cone.He is also on two pain pills and got a shot of an antibiotic at the vet that is supposed to last two weeks. His eye is to look at right now, but I hope that he heals up as well as Gus.

      1. Thank you so much for this post and for all the replies over the years since it was written.

        We’ve just been told this morning that my darling Shih Tzu Molly has to have her eye removed next week. It’s swollen, not responding to drops, the vet says it’s s massive build up of pressure in the eye and it’s hurting her.

        I’m terrified, she’s 13, but normally bounces around like a puppy so euthanasia is out of the question. Of course I jumped straight online for advice and found your post which has put my mind at rest. I can’t bear to think of my beautiful girl disfigured, but also can’t bear far more to think of her in pain and was worried sick about how much she’d suffer afterwards. Reading your post and the replies have reassured me that she won’t suffer for long, so thank you so much XXX

        Lots of love to you all and your fur babies
        Amanda and Molly xxx

    1. I recently adopted a nine yr old chihuahua, Navi. He came to me with some eye trauma. Took him to the vet this morning and his eye is being removed today. I am very concerned because of his age. I am praying that all goes well and he recovers quickly. Seeing Gus’s pics and his mama’s post has helped my nerves, a tiny bit.

  12. My 11 yr old chihuahua,Navi, whom I adopted just two weeks ago just had his eye removed two days ago. He seems to be in pain whenever he is moved or when I take him outside on his leash to go potty. He cries out or yelps. He wouldn’t drink water until today but was eating normally. The vet gave him pain meds and antibiotics. Has anyone else had the same experience as far as the pain goes?

    1. My Gus did not have pain after the first few days. I hope your boy is doing better.

      Holly Harrington

  13. Thank you so much for your positivity. My beautiful boy saw the vet on Monday morning, an opthamologist on Monday afternoon and had his eye removed on Tuesday morning. He is such a wee trooper, he’s already up and abiut, and back to his old self. A dog without an eye or a life without Paddy, there really was no choice.
    So pirate bandana ordered, and a pirate party organised for when his recovery is complete.

  14. Today I take my baby Porter in to have his eye removed. What started out as severe dry eye has turned into an acute deep corneal ulcer. The vet recommended taking the eye due to the fact that he was already blind in the eye . Also he said a conjunctival graft is not a guarantee n I’d basically be doing that for aesthetic reasons. I’m soo sick to my stomach over this but I know Porter is in pain.

  15. Thank you for taking the time to post this. So helpful seeing the pics of sweet Gus. My Golden “Moose” is having his eye removed today because he also has a tumor growing in his iris. I am just sick about it. I am worried about the test results as they will tell if there is cancer else where in his body. Praying we have a smooth recovery like Gus.

  16. Where to start? I’ve found myself in tears many times today. Tomorrow my Boston, Star( will be 13 year old on 7/4), will have her left eye removed and my VET said that he believes eventually she will need to have the other eye out as well. My heart and stomach are both sinking. I know I have nothing to do with any of this happening but it still makes me feel like a bad companion to her. The thought of the surgery makes me want to get sick. Having said that, I would hate for her eye to rupture etc. Although she cannot see 100% out of either eye….I still feel like I am taking away her sight (even if it’s just shadows). Star is in great health other than her eyes. Happy, playful, eats, sleeps etc. I’m really struggling with this….I appreciate all of you that have been a part of this post…..it makes me feel a bit more optimistic. I pray to God this all goes well and that she will be able to adjust accordingly- which by the stories all of you have shared, I have a little more hope. Thank you all for your support to each other and “new” people joining the club. There isn’t enough support groups out there for things like this. I appreciate you. Thank you <3

    She's had several issues with her eyes the last couple of years.

    1. My beautiful c12 yr old chihuahua had both eyes removed because of glaucoma and she seems to be ok. I on the other hand am dying of the guilt. I understand the pain has stopped but i will never do this to another dog again. Be prepared.

      1. My dog is 14 year old Chihuahua. Just diagnosed with a bacterial ulcer. I’m treating the ulcer with 2 antibiotics 24/7 for the next 48 plus hours. On Monday the vet will advise if the eye needs to be removed. He has little vision in the other eye. I certainly don’t want to euthanize him, however I’m concerned about “pain”, his age and recovery time. This is time to think about what’s best for my sweet boy.
        Can you offer any advice.
        Thank you very much.
        I’m so sorry about your dog. I hope he’s better, and your not feeling guilty for trying to make the best decision for your baby.

      2. Our 5 year old Springer spaniel had to have both his eyes out in may this year the staff at the veterinary vision couldn’t be more helpful, he had his eyes taken out on the Wednesday afternoon and told to keep he calm but they forgot to tell chase he went to bed that night up stairs and Thursday he got up and started playing with his toys, yes sometimes he bumps in to things but he is coping really well

    2. Thanks for your stories. I’m feeling anxious and sad and honestly terrible. My 11 year old Yorkie Poo gradually went blind in both eyes after a few years. He has a genetic retinal disease. He is now completely blind. With that comes cataracts. With that comes other issues like swelling, fluid and pressure. He also recently had an ulcer. It’s time to remove the eyes this wednesday but I feel like i’m removing the windows to his soul. I’m in tears just thinking about it. I know it’ll more than likely improve his quality of life but it’s such a tough decision. Please send good vibes our way for a quick recovery and a happier Coopie.

  17. It is so helpful to me to read everyone’s stories. I feel for all of you! My 9 year old Boston/Frenchie who ALREADY three legged (due to cancer, he had an amputation last year) had to get his eye removed at the ER today. I am heartbroken about it. He has had 3 corneal ulcers in the past few years and this one was deep and severe. We were treating it medically and he seemed to be doing well (although the ophthalmologist warned it could rupture at any moment so we took extra precautions). Our day was going great when all of sudden, BAM, eye ruptured. We had to rush him to the emergency vet who recommended eye removal. I was so worried because he has so many health issues I wasn’t sure he would be able to survive the surgery/anesthesia. Luckily he made it and is still currently at the hospital overnight. We pick him up tomorrow. He is such a fighter and I am hoping he will recover well, especially after reading all of your stories. I can say that since my little guy is an amputee, he is still just as happy and amazing as he was with 4 legs. I don’t see why it would be any different with a missing eye!

  18. My tiny Tibetan Spaniel Tulie 14 years old had to have her eye removed last Saturday after it ruptured She is a trouper and despite other age issues she is doing great. Keeping her life means so much more to us even without the eye.
    Broke though $3000.00 cd as it was emergency and with an ophthalmologist. Thank you all for your comments it helps with the shock and upset of this experience.

    1. My Boston terrier is 14 years old and has other health issue’s very worried about having her left eye removed as well, going to have it done today at vet as i type this reply, i’m praying for her and hope her out come is as good as yours, reading your post gives me a little more hope that things are going to be ok.

  19. I’m so scary my baby Ginger (13years old) dachshund will have surgery to remove her left eye. I’m worry too cause I don’t know who’s taking care of her during that night or nobody stay in the clinic. How that work??
    Please someone knows about it??

  20. Yesterday my little Bandit (Shitzu 8yrs) was attacked by a coyote his eye popped out. Took him to the emergency vet had to have his eye removed he was really low on blood (15) and had to have a blood transfusion and plasma. The vet called me after surgery and said Bandit is doing good. I am distraught. I feel so bad for him. Thank you so much for writing this it has helped!!!!

  21. This past summer, my 12 year old beagle had to get surgery to remove her eye. I was so so worried about the procedure due to my dog’s age, but this article really helped me calm down about it. The healing process was quite quick and I truly believe that my dog to this day doesn’t know one of her eyes is gone. As soon as the procedure was over, she bounced back to the energetic dog she was before she was diagnosed with glaucoma. I would love to let anyone in a similar situation know that her age did not impact the success of the procedure one bit and that she healed very quickly. It takes some getting used to for us, but dogs heal and adapt almost immediately!

  22. Hi everyone. Not sure if this board is still active, but I’m feeling so alone with my situation and am hoping someone is still around. Reading everyone’s earlier posts is such a relief-I never imagined my Roxie would have to go through this.

    Roxie is a 10 1/2 years old Shih-tzu mix and the great love of my life. He and I are crazy about each other, and tho I love all my pets dearly, he’s something special. Which is why seeing him like this is just killing me.

    Rox was diagnosed with diabetes November, and one day in December he suddenly was blind. I took him to the vet ER and as given drops and told he had cataracts. So I was deciding about surgery, where to go, etc, when the eyes got puffy and swollen and the vet said it’s glaucoma.

    My poor love wanders around the house now, occasionally bumping into things, although God love him, he’s gotten so good at getting around it’s amazing. But my heart is just broken looking at my little guy, wishing he wasn’t in pain and that he was his old self.

    I’m thinking of having the enucleation surgery done, but I’m not sure “when” to have it. Like right now he’s on codeine and three eye drop meds for pain and pressure. They are helping as far as I can tell-he now keeps his eyes open all of the time, he likes to chew on his bed and pull it around the living room, and when he’s outside he scampers a bit like he used to which makes me happy. But, right now he’s on his bed looking so depressed, and I can tell he’s in pain. Sigh…

    Anyway, part of me wonders if it’s too soon to do the surgery but if it relieves his pain then I don’t want him to have to wait. I guess I’m feeling scared and sad and wishing I could make him better.

    I’d love to hear more stories about your dogs and how they made out after the surgery.

    Thanks so much for listening,

    1. I’m so sorry to hear of your struggle. I had no choice but to do the surgery as the issue was a cancerous tumor in the eye. In your case, the issue is more pain and quality of life. That is a much harder decision. There are no easy answers. Best of luck,

      Holly Harrington

  23. My Schichon was attacked by another dog this morning & it literally pulled his eye out! I had to make the decision to have it surgically removed. I am still in shock & will be picking him up tomorrow morning. I’m scared. I suppose of the unknown. The vet did say that because the nerve was severed he wasn’t in pain before the surgery but my goodness he almost looked worse after surgery.
    Will he be able to live a happy healthy life? Any and all comments welcome!
    Thank you!!

    1. I am so sorry to hear of this. What a terrible ordeal. I can only speak from my experience, but my dog went on to live a happy and healthy life not bothered at all by the loss of his eye. In my experience, the first 48 hours after surgery were difficult, but it healed quickly.

      Holly Harrington

  24. Thank you so much for sharing Gus’ story! My 14 year old shih-tzu Teddy just went through a double enucleation yesterday. He had extreme dry eyes and it was impossible to get drops in his eyes because he is aggressive. The skin around his eyes became so inflamed/bloody/sore from cleaning the eye boogers off that the vet recommended the enucleation. I was reluctant and waited another year to get it done. Today is day two and he is doing really well. He is confused but is eating and drinking just fine and even went potty outside. I hope this helps anyone reluctant on getting the surgery done. I feel at peace and that it was probably the best decision for him. The total cost was $1400 with blood work included.

  25. We are taking out little Patterdale Terrier in today to have one of his eyes removed. After it being poorly for nearly two months now, he developed what was thought to be an ulcer on it, drainage issues, over the weekend he pawed at it and caught it with his dewclaw and ruptured the eye, emergency vet and they said take to his vet first thing Monday for eye removal, the vet we have been going to (closer than his with all this covid19) didn’t deem it an emergency so we have had to wait until today to take him further to his own vets to have it done. We are worried sick. We are thinking could we have done more, took him back to the vets sooner, was it our fault and could the eye have been saved, we are heartbroken about him losing an eye. We are scared about the operation, after the operation and everything. He’s booked in for 3pm and is due to come home at 5.45pm, he will be ok with this won’t he, they wouldn’t release him unless it was fine. Just aching and feeling so sick. He’s such a loving doggie who is our life and doesn’t deserve this. We are both worried sick about it all.

  26. Reading your post about sweet Gus has made me feel a bit better. I think I’m at the point where I need to have my 11 year old dachshunds eye removed due to a corneal ulcer that just won’t heal. He is a very happy dog and has been living in a cone to protect his eye and I want him to be happy and healthy again! The surgery definitely makes me nervous as he has never had anything this serious and I hate to see him in pain but reading a lot of these posts is reassuring that his age shouldn’t be an issue and he should heal fairly quickly. Also nervous about the cost! Lol

  27. Thank you for sharing Gus’ story. It is very comforting ❤️. Our 6 y.o. shepherd had his right eye removed less than 48 hours ago. 3 weeks ago he developed an eye infection that didn’t not respond to meds (steroids and antibiotics). Two weeks in he developed sudden onset glaucoma. His eye looked horrible…swollen, bloodshot, discolored. Eye pressure drops didn’t resolve it either, so removal was recommended. He is such a goodnatured boy and he’s being a real trooper and so far is handling recovery well. He’s on Tramadol for pain. He is mostly resting but gets up for necessities. Occasionally he gets panicky and pants heavily and paces and I believe that is when his pain meds are wearing off. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster coaster for us, but I’m happy he had the surgery because it has taken away the constant low grade pain he must have been experiencing from the glaucoma. I sure hope he fairs well next week. He is now on glaucoma drops for his other eye the rest of his life to help protect his good eye. Beautiful Gus’ story is very reassuring to me, thank you again.

  28. My sweet girl just had an eye removed today. I wasn’t at all prepared for how shocking she would look right after surgery, but your article and many of the comments have made me feel so much better about the recovery process.

  29. Hi there,

    Firstly, thank you so much Holly for posting your story about Pirate Gus. It was very reassuring to say the least. As well, to all of those that wrote in to tell about their struggles, every story helped.

    Almost two years ago my husband was diagnosed with Leukemia and in under two months after that my first dog was diagnosed with diabetes.

    Ciaran is a black shiatsu cross that we rescued from a shelter. We knew where he had been previously housed which happened to be at a not so nice home. He had been chained with with a Rottweiler for 3 years outside in the Canadian north dealing not only with over -30C weather in the winter time but the summer bug seasons as well. Even today if he hears a mosquito he runs to hide under the bed. But despite his inhumane upbringing he is the happiest of happy dogs. No one can understand how being raised the way he was, why this little ball of fur always has a smile on his face and has a tail that looks like it will just be waved off when he greets you.

    We were warned that with his diabetes he would probably go blind and that he did just a few short 4 months later but that too didn’t slow him down. He has a big brother named Fionn, who is a purebred Jack Russell, who like all brothers was both a big help and a pest in the same breath. In the beginning, Fionn realized right away that Ciaran couldn’t see anymore so he would get Ciaran all worked up and then just stop dead in his tracks so Ciaran unknowingly would run right into Fionn’s butt! You could almost hear Fionn laughing every time he did it. Oh, the love between siblings is priceless.

    So now we’re up to this week and Ciaran was going in to have his insulin levels tested as I found he was starting to drink a bit more than normal. That was Sunday afternoon, and that very morning, I woke up to find Ciaran’s left eye looking like a great big glass marble sticking out of his eye socket. The vet immediately gave us meds to being down the swelling but now we’re being told that he will have to remain on these drugs for the rest of his life in the hopes that it will help. Granted he is going to be 12 this year and he is on heart meds as well but to add another two medications you have to really start to think about things. Now today is Wednesday and the only thing that I have noticed in him is that he’s sleeping more and I mean sleeping all day and all night. He still has his appetite and goes outside when he asks to but that’s it. So I called the vet and he said he’s in pain. Just like when I get a headache and all I want to do is curl up, close my eyes and go to sleep, that’s what Ciaran is doing.

    So the vet has given me three choices. 1. Treat him with all of the meds including the eye drops to keep the pressure down in not just one but both eyes. 2. Surgery to remove both eyes. 3. Put him down.

    I have always and only been a cat owner and in their cases when I knew that they were suffering and when there was nothing left for me to do, I put them down. Yes, tears were shed but now, this is heartbreaking and unbearable. We’ve had Ciaran for almost 8 years now and he’s my cuddle bum. He’s the one that let me use him as a pillow while I had to be alone for 8 months while hubby was being treated in the hospital on the mainland (we live on Vancouver Island). The tears this little dog has licked away from my face, well he was my lifesaver and my best friend during that time. Now, my tears are for him and my heart is breaking in a way it never has before. If he’s in any type of pain or discomfort I don’t think that I could bare it. Putting him down is so out of the question that I won’t even consider it at this time. So, the vet asked to see him again on Sunday where I’ll have to make my decision. I know that in the end it is all cosmetic, and just like when he went blind, it only took him a few days to get back to being the happy fella he’s always been but as a fur-parent, how do you get over having to see the scars on their faces where their eyes use to be?

    Thank you for reading this, just typing it out (I can’t talk about it as it only makes me cry) has helped immensely. I will let you know how he’s doing in another post.

    And thank you again Holly for giving us fur-parents a place to gather, to cry and to help one another as we give our hearts to these four (sometimes three) legged family members.


    1. I completely understand your fears and thoughts regarding this decision. Your pup sounds like such a gem! We had to make that decision too but I think it was easier, for me at least, because the drops didn’t work and I couldn’t put him through the pain of the procedure to drain the fluid in his eyes and we had no idea if it would even work. And I knew he wasn’t ready to leave us! Our Kodi is 13 (the one who had his eyes removed) has a fur-sibling too! She’s younger and took a little to realize he couldn’t see her when he would walk into her. She got snarky with him once. Only once. I lovingly but firmly set her straight and showed her how he can’t see. She did get it because now she’s really gotten to where she doesn’t just get out of his way, she helps him! And alerts us if he’s stuck somewhere (like in the deep snow when he barrels through off the shoveled path in the backyard. Lol. He has no fear, he bulldozes his way wherever he wants! And regarding the scars & appearance, yes, he was a beautiful American Eskimo with the ‘pretty face’ but he’s even more beautiful to me now-he’s his old self! Friendlier, happier, more playful and no more pain. I hope your little guy is doing well and thriving! They adapt so much faster than us! I learned from Kodi, it’s just an eye (or two). Losing an eye (or both) vs. losing my pup. No question. We just have to keep a closer watch when he’s outside and remember to give him cues to where we are (tapping my foot, keep talking to him). I use a baby rattle/bell to call him in from outside and he hears the jingling and follows it perfectly. Here’s to a long happy healthy pup life!!

  30. I write this at 2 in the morning as I cry and reminisce on today’s news. My beautiful old lady, Chiquis, has been dealt with a very unfortunate hand. What started as a simple corneal ulcer on her eye turned into a nightmare. Her ulcer has teared to the point of it bulging. I thought it was just swelling and inflammation but upon taking her to a specialist, that bulge was the contents of her eye poking its way out. I began to sob on that phone call with the vet. I felt riddled with guilt that I didn’t know she was in pain. She is a beautiful 10 year old toy poodle with arthritis but is still so full of life. Reading these stories of people’s precious old pups being okay makes me feel like everything will be okay. She is scheduled to remove her left eye on Wednesday. I feel awful about all of this and I’m terrified of what the healing process will be like for Chiquis. I pray for all these wonderful pups on this page as I pray for my little old lady today. I’m a worrier and I’m very much terrified about how she will look like right after her surgery. With COVID happening, she has to be handed off to the nurses. I wish I could be able to go in for just 5 minutes. When dealing with a senior dog, there is always risk when undergoing anesthesia but your page and these stories have brought me a bit of hope. Thank you for creating this page, it makes me feel less alone <3

  31. This was so reassuring to me!
    My diabetic 10 year old was completely blind in one eye and heavy cataracts in the other, but we thought she could see shapes, light, etc. Last week she rolled in some leaves and somehow punctured her eye (we think from bird hock). Went to the vet and they started her on antibiotic drops. After 5 days, she started turning the corner and her eye looked fairly good but I noticed a white discharge coming from the puncture that had smeared over her eye. Not thinking anything of it, I wiped her eye and gave her drops before I went to bed. When I woke up, I was horrified to find a large protrusion from that puncture. It was the inside of her eye leaking out. Long story short, we opted for removal of her eye instead of euthanasia because she had such a good quality of life!
    I want to reassure you that it gets better quickly! The first 24 hours were very challenging as she came off her sedation and confusion. We had to give her syringes of meds and water because she wouldn’t eat or drink. She’s not a pill taker, so we’ve always crushed any pills. She enjoyed just walking around the front yard but could not pee initially. She would squat but would immediately fall into a sitting position. The whining was relentless, but we sat with her, patting her and just talking to her. She seemed to need that validation, and I just kept telling her it’s going to be ok. I had found a soft ice pack, wrapped it in a soft towel and put that under her head from time to time. She kept lying her head with that side down, so I was able to easily use it as a pillow. That actually seemed to help her the most! But you have to use it intermittently, as directed by your vet.
    If you can make it through the first 24 hours without complications, understand that your dog will surprisingly bounce back to almost normal! It’s only been 36 hours and it is as if nothing happened! It truly validates how poor her vision was, because she doesn’t skip a beat. We thought the eye that was removed was her good eye, but come to find out she was totally blind all along. She never ceases to amaze me! They have amazing ways of adapting and are built to survive!
    Im sure if you’re reading this you’re looking for the same thing I was…should I put my baby through it or not? I made up my mind after reading this, that if after 2 days she was suffering, I planned on euthanasia. I love her too much to withstand suffering!
    I don’t want to sugarcoat anything…You have to really be strong to get through that first day…don’t be afraid to ask trusted family/friends for support during the first day. You will need to take breaks so you can be strong for your baby. They are very in tune to our emotions. You probably will feel helpless and emotionally exhausted! I think it’s harder on us than it is them. I was feeling so desperate I started a prayer chain!
    We’ve still got a ways to go, but she’s doing amazingly well and want to give some reassurance to you, that it turns a corner so fast! I’m still not sure if it was pain or sedation that was making her whine…probably a mixture of both. Her whining continuously was the hardest part for me…but now that has subsided as well!
    I hope this helps you in some small way! It’s not an easy day, but you’ll find a way to get through it and be so glad you took that step instead of putting your baby down! Sending you love and XOXO to you!

  32. Hello, my Maltese named Tucker, needs to have to have his eye removed. The Veterinary opthalmology Specialist gave me an estimate of about $1500. I got a 2nd opinion from my regular vet, as well as a 3rd opinion from another regular veterinarian (recommended to me by a friend). They both assured me that they have performed these surgeries successfully. The estimates from the regular Veterinarians ranged from $445 – $588. My only income is Social Security so the cost is a concern, but my dog’s safety is of more concern. My question is this, “Can I feel confident using our REGULAR Veterinarian to perform this type of surgery or, must I use the Opthalmology Specialist?” How many of you used your regular Vet for your pet’s eye removal? Thank you!

  33. Thank you for this article! My dog, Kodi, an American Eskimo who is now 13, developed cataracts and in 2018 went blind. In 2019 he developed glaucoma and we tried to control it with the drops. It couldn’t. We didn’t want to put him through more pain with regular draining ( the needle in the eye procedure) and asked our vet what would ultimately be needed to help him. Eye removal. Since he was already blind, this was an easy decision and the only difference from now would be the physical eyes not being there. We didn’t care about his appearance if it helped him. He had both eyes removed in 12/2019 and after the first week became a much happier and friendlier dog! His ‘old puppy self’! Except that he HATED the cone! It makes me wonder how long he was really in pain and I feel like a bad dog-mom for not knowing, but I know they hide pain a lot sometimes. He was just a grumpy old man, at 11 I figured that was normal. He has been great and renewed energy since! And I don’t know if it’s connected ( I think it is!) but he has not had ANY seizures since! He had clustered grand mals about every 60-70 days since he was about 5. He was on 2 medications and our vet approved to reduce then stop one med. we did that in December. So far so good! Hopefully we can reduce his other med over time also. Now that he’s more energetic and playful, I’m looking for ways/toys he can play with being blind. His younger fur-sister is great. She looks out for him and alerts us if there’s an issue (stuck in backyard snow when he goes off the shoveled path-he’s stubborn). But she doesn’t play with him much. Any ideas??