Eye of dog Alfie showing mild discolouration on cornea

Message from client Phil

My Alfie had his eye punctured by a cat down at The Cranfleet Canal in Long Eaton just over a week ago, Ben at Ashfield House has saved his sight in the eye, something I’ll be forever grateful for.

Thanks also to John who first looked at him and also to all the supportive receptionists for taking care of both Alife and me, special thanks go to Ann for sitting with me for an hour at the Byron Nuthall branch, supporting me through my anguish last Wednesday, you are a credit to Ashfield house.

Here’s Alfie’s eye today, the grey smudge is the cornea almost healed. Another 5-6 weeks of medication will see him right.

The outcome could have been very different and thanks to Ben it wasn’t.

All About Corneal Ulcers

A corneal ulcer is an erosion of the superficial layer of the cornea, which is the clear membrane at the front of the eye.

What causes it?

Most corneal ulcers are caused by trauma, such as a cat scratch, a branch in the bushes, or rubbing the eye against something such as a grass seed caught in the eyelid or an ingrown eyelash. Another possibility is a chemical burn, for instance by erosive fluids or even irritating shampoo.

Some infections and diseases can also cause ulcers. Finally, a lack of tears, such as in the condition called ‘dry eye’ (or Kerato-Conjunctivitis Sicca) can also lead to ulcers. This is common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

How is it diagnosed?

A corneal ulcer is very painful and the dog will scratch or rub the eye, close its eyelids and possibly have a discharge from the eye. It may show as a clouding of the normally clear cornea. Your vet will often have to perform a special staining test on the eye, sometimes after the application of local anaesthetic drops, to diagnose a corneal ulcer.


Treatment of corneal ulcers will vary with the degree or depth of the ulceration. Mostly it will be with the use of eye drops or ointment. In some cases it may be necessary to perform minor surgery on the affected eye by removing the loose edges of the ulcer.

In some cases we may decide to perform a ‘third eyelid flap’, whereby the third eyelid, the small membrane in the inside corner of the eye, is stitched over the corneal ulcer to help the healing process. At the end of the prescribed treatment period we will have to do the staining test again to check whether the entire ulcer has healed.

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