Lately, I’ve had a lot of inquiries of why Grover is and has been wearing a cone for so long. I thought I’d write a blog about this, so if anyone ‘out there’ has any similar issues with their dogs that maybe they can give me advice. Don’t worry, I won’t post any of the gross pictures online.
The first time we started noticing that something funny was starting with his eye was on Canada Day this year. We were taking care of our friends parents dog, and I took this photo of Grover. He had started rubbing his eye and we thought he had a mosquito bite above his eye.
The Sunday of this weekend we woke up to Grover sleeping under our bed (which he never does) and when I woke up his eye was green, the size of a swollen golf ball, and very pus-y. Luckily, we had a cone on hand from some hot spots he had last summer. Hence, the coning began. The next day, I brought him to the vet, and she gave us some antibiotics for the eye infection, and cleaned his eye out a fair bit. We went with this for a week and Grover’s eye was no longer green, but he still couldn’t keep it open. So we were referred to an eye specialist. His name is Dr. Goldstein and his practice at Forest Hill Animal Clinic is amazing. They always give us a discount for the referral, and I think also because they know how draining (financially and emotionally) this kind of thing is on you.
The summary of all our vet appointments with Dr. Goldstein…Well, the first visit I went by myself and had very challenging news and decisions to deal with. Grover has a very unusual eye thing “and no one ever wants to hear that”. Basically Dr. Goldstein described how the eye works, drew me a diagram and thoroughly went over everything that he was thinking about what was going on. Because it seemed futile to get all sorts of expensive testing done on what we may not have found a solution, I conceded and decided to get the ultrasound as the only fancy test. The ultrasound showed that Grover has a mass of something unknown behind his eye. We went home with 3 medications 4 times a day for Grover.
This initial treatment worked super well for Grover. He was still itchy, but we could leave his cone off for brief periods of time without fear that the scratching would re-ulcer his eye. We still brought Grover with us like usual and he’s still having a lot of fun. The follow up visits were basically great, that we need to get the infection back and under control and that he seems to be reacting to the medication well.
A couple weekends ago we went to Ottawa for Justin’s brother’s wedding (It was a beautiful wedding, by the way!). A couple days before we left for Ottawa we started noticing that Grover was starting to itch at his other eye a little bit. But just disregarded this that he was itchy from not being able to rub his face at all. While we were in Ottawa his other eye continued to get worse and worse, until Justin made the executive decision to start giving him his medication in both eyes. We figured that mass we know about back there is shifting and it seemed very likely that it was the same thing. Dr. Goldstein told us at the follow up that we (Justin) did the absolute right thing. The other issue is that after Grover had had a fun day swimming with Jagger (my dad’s Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) and Herman (my sister maltese/shitz tzu cross) I wanted to give him a good burshing. As I was brushing him I realized that his whole body was super hot and realized he had angry red skin and very angry red spots. I decided to give him a bath, and had to bring him to our own vet that day as well (double vet bill day…not so good).
In our follow up with Dr. Goldstein most recently, he believes that the skin and eyes are related and there may be an underlying issue, such as auto immune disease. Through online research, I believe what Grover may have is VKH http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/vkhsyndrome.htm . This sounds very like what he has, but without the discolouration. Although, he has been getting really bad age spots, and he now has brown scabs spread over his body. He does seem to have relaxed though, and sleeps most days.
Justin and I don’t think the next trip to the vet will be a very good one, because of the degradation that has been going on lately. Wish Grover the best, as we continue to try to make him a happy little guy, and keep him feeling good about himself for awhile yet.
We love our little Grover Bear!