Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oscar and the Ophthalmologist

Any one who researches purchasing a bulldog thoroughly will found out that they can be expensive dogs to keep healthy.  Due to their stature and wrinkles, they are prone to skin and breathing issues as well as hip issues.

We've been extremely fortunate, as Oscar will be four at the end of the month and we haven't had any major issues.  Sure, he gets seasonal flank alopecia, which is balding on the sides of belly (believe to be due to a lack of sunlight/vitamin D)...

English bulldog
See the dark spots on his side?

...but it's purely cosmetic and has no associated health concerns.

However, we've noticed that Oscar has started to get reoccurring eye infections (warning, I'm going to show a picture in a bit).  We've had at least two "major" infection a year for the last two years, which have basically resulted in vet bills for a couple hundred dollars as well as eye drops and a cone.
Just call me haha
Most recently we went the week after getting back from NYC for an infection. Oscar was on drops for two weeks and everything seemed fine, until we came home to this on Valentine's. Two weeks later and it was back.

english bulldog
Red, bleeding and irritated around the eye.  What looked worse was that part of Oscar's eye itself had a red spot in it!  We visited the vet the next day and were relieved to learn it wasn't as bad as it looked.  The spot meant that Oscar had previously scratched his cornea and now blood vessels were coming to the surface to try to repair the scratch.
At this point, we asked about entropion surgery.  Entropion occurs in humans and animals. Basically what happens is that the eyelashes on the lower lid grow inward, irritating the eye, which can lead to infections. Entropion surgery is a corrective surgery where a portion of the eyelid itself is cut out to remove the inward facing eyelashes.
Source: The Beginning of Forever
We learned that our vet wouldn't preform the surgery, but recommended us to an animal ophthalmologist in the city. 
At this point, we reached out to some of our friends in Chicago English Bulldog Rescue (CEBR) to hear their experience and recommendations. We also contacted the vet where we take the CEBR dogs in the suburbs.  Unfortunately he was out of town for the week!
Ben took Oscar to the opthamologist, who confirmed that the surgery could be beneficial (it's not necessarily a "one-and-done" time thing; some dogs require the surgery several times throughout their life. Now, we had no idea what the pricing for the surgery is, but given bulldogs breathing issues, anytime a bully has to be put under, it's expensive because they require someone to watch them the entire them they're under. However, we had a bit of sticker shock when we were quoted $2,500 for the surgery!
I contacted the head of CEBR and asked her for a ballpark of how much our CEBR 'burbs vet charges for the surgery; and as we expected, it was much less. 
Last Friday night we spent (round trip) 3.5 hours in the car to get our little pal to the 'burbs vet for a second opinion.  The vet confirmed that Oscar is a good candidate for the surgery.  Being that he's fairly young, if we don't do the surgery, odds are that the lashes would continue to irritate the eye and eventually the tear glands would stop producing tears.  This is called Dry Eye, which would basically fill feel sandpaper rubbing against the eye every time you blink; unless you get daily eye drops, for the rest of your life.  Poor Oscie, we don't want that!
Thus, we decided to proceed with scheduling the entropion surgery at the suburbs vet. The benefit of the suburbs vet? Not only does he have over 1,000 bulldogs he sees (he knows what he's doing!), but the price! We were quoted $500-$900 depending on how severe it is.  It could be as low as 25% of the city cost! 
Everything in the Chicago has a price; and we thought the markup on gas (currently $4.29/gal in our neighborhood) was high! Just another perk of volunteering and knowing your resources!

A week from today Oscar will under go his surgery. Keep him in your thoughts, please!

1 comment:

  1. Poor duggy! Roxy has had eye issues as well, it's always her right eye. It's almost always wet, and gets irritated very easily. We've had to bring her to the vet a few times and get expensive eye creams and drops but thankfully she's been much better lately. She'll be 6 in July, and knock on wood other than her eye issue she's been pretty healthy as well.


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