Vet’s dog needs eye op after game of fetch  - Veterinary Practice
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Vet’s dog needs eye op after game of fetch 

A two-year-old Springador has a prickly experience when a ball chase lead to her having a long thorn embedded in her eye


A specialist vet has spoken of her worry after learning that her own pet dog’s eye had been badly pierced during a game of fetch in the woods. The two-year-old Springador, called Skye, chased a ball into a prickly hawthorn hedge and emerged with a long thorn embedded in her eye.  

Mary Marrington, an oncology specialist with Northwest Veterinary Specialists (NWVS) in Runcorn, Cheshire, was at work when the incident happened and was alerted by her husband Dan, who took the family pet straight to her at the Linnaeus-owned referral centre. 

Mary, from Lymm, Cheshire, explained: “Skye was running in the local woods with my husband and two young children, playing fetch with the ball, which is her favourite hobby.  The ball bounced awkwardly into a hawthorn hedge and she leaped in after it. My husband thought he saw something in her eye, but she had no symptoms and still wanted to play. However, once she returned to the car and the excitement and obsession with the ball had worn off, she started trembling and he brought her straight to me at NWVS.”  

Mary admits her own veterinary expertise didn’t help quell her distress, confessing: “I was very concerned. The thorn was around half an inch long and, as much as you can stay focused and calm when treating other people’s dogs, it’s very different when you have the worry which comes with looking after your own.  

“As a specialist myself, albeit in oncology, you recognise your own area of expertise but also fully acknowledge where there are colleagues who could look after your pet better. So, I immediately referred her to our colleagues at fellow Linnaeus practice Eye Vet in Sutton Weaver. They were very quick to agree to see Skye and their ophthalmology director, Iona Mathieson, operated on her the following day.  

“Iona was also very supportive when we were struggling to get the eye drops in, despite never having had an issue with other people’s pets, and with my general worry. It was massively appreciated and I will forever be in her debt.”  

Eye Vet’s Iona, an advanced practitioner in veterinary ophthalmology, explained Skye’s surgery and subsequent treatment, saying: “Mary could see the thorn was sticking out and was deeply embedded in Skye’s eye. It had perforated her cornea, gone right through her lens and was embedded in the anterior vitreous (the jelly in the back of the eye).  

“At the time of surgery, the thorn had already become dislodged so I operated to repair the corneal defect and remove the lens material via phacoemulsification, which is where a needle is inserted inside the eye to use ultrasonic energy to break up the lens material, before it is aspirated from the eye.

“Unfortunately, it was not possible to place an artificial lens because of the damage to the back of the lens capsule, but Skye can see well and has still gone on to make a very good recovery. 

“This case highlights the real dangers of throwing balls into shrubbery inadvertently, as corneal foreign bodies are a common injury in our field, especially for bouncy Springers.”  

For more information on NWVS and Eye Vet, visit their respective websites.

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