Life’s looking good again for an ageing sprocker spaniel whose life was blighted by poor vision and painful eyes.
Thirteen-year-old Murphy, a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Springer, was suffering with red and blistered eyes, which were leaving him in pain and presenting his owners with the awful possibility of putting him to sleep.
However, experts at Eastcott Veterinary Referrals, in Swindon, carried out intricate corrective surgery on both eyes, giving the beloved family pet a new lease of life.
Murphy’s delighted owner Clare Dodwell, from Fairford in Gloucestershire, was full of praise for the ophthalmic experts at Eastcott.
Clare said: “Murphy’s eyes were in a poor state, as both were very red and blistered and the vets said he was in immense pain.
“He’s an older dog and we did not want him to suffer so we had to decide whether to put him to sleep or to risk the operations.
“For us, it was a no-brainer. Firstly, we were so relieved there was something the team at Eastcott could do and we wanted to give him every chance to be treated and recover.
“The vets told us it’s a problem which tends to afflict older dogs but that the operations often prove very successful.
“They’ve certainly worked out very well for Murphy and he’s now thoroughly enjoying a second lease of life.”
Murphy underwent an operation called a keratectomy and “Gunderson graft” in both eyes, which was carried out by Eastcott’s head of ophthalmology and advanced practitioner Ida Gilbert.
Ida said: “Murphy was referred to us with a history of recurrent and chronic ulceration in both eyes.
“He had corneal oedema (swelling), an increased blink rate and pain due to multiple ulcers in both eyes, with the right eye more severely affected.
“A full ophthalmic examination revealed he suffered from corneal endothelial dystrophy (similar to Fuchs endothelial dystrophy in people). It is a degenerative condition in dogs, which affects the clarity of the cornea, leaving the cornea more hazy/foggy looking. It can sometimes be confused with cataracts (which affect the lens deeper in the eye).
“Endothelial dystrophy is a progressive, spontaneous problem which is mostly seen in elderly dogs, but with certain breeds pre-disposed such as Boston terriers, Springer spaniels, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds and Dalmatians.
“There is no cure but dogs do very well with surgery, which often seems to slow down the disease progression in the rest of the cornea.
“The ‘Gunderson graft’ is our favoured procedure as it removes the superficial waterlogged and often scarred cornea, then replaces it with a thin conjunctival graft, which is normally very well accepted and allows useful vision in most cases and reduced risk of painful ulcers.
“Murphy certainly responded very well with a resolution of his ocular discomfort, the retention of good vision overall and he’s not had any further ulcers since his surgery. We’re all extremely pleased with him.”
Owner Clare is now focused on Murphy enjoying his later years with pain-free vision. She said: “I was absolutely bowled over by how amazing the staff at Eastcott were, especially operating in the midst of this Covid pandemic.
“I can’t praise everyone enough. They have a great team at Eastcott and Ida was quite extraordinary – a really lovely person.”
Eastcott offers expert care in cardiology, dentistry, internal medicine, ophthalmology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oncology orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery, laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, diagnostic imaging and CT, anaesthesia and analgesia and has its own emergency and critical care centre.
For more information about Eastcott Referrals visit www.eastcottreferrals.co.uk or search for Eastcott Veterinary Referrals on social media