French Bulldog Corneal Ulcer: Treatment, Diagnosis, & Prevention


french bulldog corneal ulcer treatment

Frenchies are prone to eye problems and injuries due to their flatted faces. This makes their eyes protrude more than other breeds, making them more at risk of an injury, typically when play fighting with other dogs.

One of the more common eye problems will be when your French Bulldog has a corneal ulcer, which thankfully can be treated… read this short and helpful guide on what to expect, how to treat the problem, and what it might cost.

How do Frenchies get corneal ulcers?

According the VCA Hospital website, corneal eye ulcers most commonly occur in Frenchies due to a trauma and injury.

“An ulcer may result from blunt trauma, such as a dog rubbing its eye on the carpet, or due to a laceration, such as a cat scratch or a contact with a sharp object. Another common cause is chemical burn of the cornea. This may happen when an irritating chemical or substance such as shampoo or drywall dust gets in the eye.”

The causes can be further broken down, by looking out for:

  • Scratches from a tree branch or a scratch and bump from another dog.
  • Infections that can follow on from ulcerative keratitis inflammation of the cornea.
  • Foreign objects stuck under the eyelid which then scratch against the cornea.
  • Dry eye where the lack of moisture can increase the risk of corneal ulcers.

How to tell if it’s a corneal ulcer?

Some owners will mistake a condition such as cherry eye as being a corneal ulcer. It’s actually a different condition, and instead you should check to see for:

  • Is your Frenchie blinking and squinting?
  • Is your Frenchie pawing or rubbing at the eye?
  • Is the eye red and watery?
  • Is there an unusual discharge around the eye?
  • Can you see swelling in the eye?
  • Does your Frenchie also have a runny nose on the same side?
  • Is it difficult for your Frenchie to open the eye?

What should you do?

Corneal ulcers are very painful for French Bulldogs, and if you suspect your dog has one, you should seek swift veterinary help.

Swift attention to the problem can help prevent potential loss of vision in the eye. If you cannot get to a vet on the day, you can use an over the counter saline solution to wash any foreign bodies out of the eye.

Vets also recommend that you keep your French Bulldog in a darker than normal room, as ulcers can be more painful when in direct sunlight.

French Bulldog corneal ulcer treatment

When you arrive at the vets, they will use a special dye in your Frenchie’s eyes which will turn the ulcer area to a yellow color. They then use bright lamps to look into the eye to examine the corneal ulcer better, giving them an idea on size and seriousness.

The treatments available for your Frenchie’s corneal ulcer include:

1. Ointments, eye drops, and tablets

Drops and ointments are used to prevent bacterial infections. These are to be applied every 2 hours but should treat the corneal ulcer within 3 to 5 days. Vets can also prescribe tablet-based medication to heal the ulcer and oral pain killers.

Vets can also prescribe atropine eye drops to relieve the pain and prevent the ulcer from reaching the deep layers of the eye. You should exercise caution though, as atropine can causes mydriasis (dilation of the pupil), up to several days after stopping treatment, so you should not expose your Frenchie to strong light.

2. Surgery for more serious corneal ulcers

The corneal ulcer treatments in step 1 might not be sufficient, so the vet might decide that surgery is needed.

This can range from a simple procedure involving stitching up the eyelid to speed up the healing process.

If it’s a deep corneal ulcer, more major surgery will be required which you can read more about on the Eye Vet Clinic website. This is what they say:

“Superficial corneal ulcers are painful but do not pose a threat to the integrity of the globe and are usually treated medically – with few exceptions. Deep corneal ulcers however pose a threat as they may result in corneal perforation which is extremely painful, and sight threatening and often require emergency surgical intervention.  Surgeries for deep corneal ulcers usually involve placement of a graft into the defect which provides structural support to the eye.” 

The two different surgical procedures this veterinary practice offer are: 

  1. Conjunctival pedicle graft (also called ‘CPG’)
  2. Corneo-conjunctival transposition graft (also called ‘CCT’) 

The cost of surgeries like this can range anywhere between $200 to $2,000 depending on the seriousness of the problem.

Preventing corneal ulcers in Frenchies

Longer term prevention of corneal ulcers can be achieved by measures including:

  • Protecting your Frenchie’s eye with French Bulldog goggles or an eye patch.
  • Apply eye drops daily as prescribed by a vet to prevent infections.

Conclusion

Corneal ulcers are just one of a wide range of health problems that Frenchies can develop in their lifetime. It’s fair to say, that if you own this breed please make sure you have adequate insurance in place to cover all eventualities.

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Marc Aaron

I am one of Claude the French Bulldog's human parents. I write about all the things we've learned about owning a Frenchie, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way. Read more about Marc Aaron.

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