EYE INJURIES AND CORNEAL
THE SINGAPORE SHIH TZU
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
First Written: 22 January, 2002
29 July, 2010
Be Kind To Pets
SOLUTIONS AND ADVICES
TO THE NEW SHIH TZU PUPPY OWNERS IN SINGAPORE
Over the past 20 years in small animal practice, I note
that many puppy owners are ignorant of the need to
provide special eye care for their Shih Tzus resulting
in half blind and painful eyes for the Shih Tzus.
Therefore, I take some time to write this educational
As the Shih Tzu has large eyes in shallow orbits, many
things and events can injure and damage the transparent
cornea of the protruding eyeball.
The Shih Tzu starts to have red eyes, weepy eyes and
keeps scratching his eyes. Some owners and pet shop
operators selling Shih Tzus will use eye-drops to
resolve the problem.
As the Shih Tzu has corneal eye ulcerations, it is
impossible for the owners and unenlightened pet shop
operators to cure this severe corneal ulcerations by
applying eye drops of all kinds.
Eye corneal ulcerations are emergencies. Without
treatment, many dogs lose their eye-sight or their
eyeball as the cornea ruptures.
Toa Payoh Vets, the treatment of corneal ulcer includes
1. The groomer clips all hairs around the eye and the
2. The eye area and the skin is thoroughly washed.
3. The dog is given anaesthesia. The corneal ulcer is
4. An antibiotic injection is given into the
5. The eye-lids are stitched up. Eye ointment is applied
daily for the next 7 days at the Surgery. I prefer the
dog to be warded but for economic reasons, many owners
want the dog back.
6. After 7-10 days, the eye-lids will open up due to
movement and the corneal ulcer is healed around 70%.
The dog goes home to recuperate.
Corneal ulcers are "costly" to treat and fees
from various vets are estimated to be from $500 - $1,500
depending on the severity of the condition, anaesthesia,
surgery and the hospitalisation and care involved. They need to be treated within 24 hours
of injury for successful outcome to save the eye sight
for your dog.
2008 CASE: A EARLY CASE OF
A SHIH TZU IN SINGAPORE
other dogs in the apartment but mynah
birds do come into the kitchen. Could
they be the cause of the corneal ulcer
when they peck at the Shih Tzu? Or
could the ulcer in the cornea be due
A recent corneal ulcer in the
right eye. Tearing and rubbing of
the eye. Note that the hairs from the
facial fold (raised skin fold
between the eye and the nose) has
hairs poking at the eye ball.
dog could not be intubated when the
endotracheal tube was inserted twice.
He had a very sore throat and
tonsillitis. So gas mask anaesthesia
was used in order not to
prolong anaesthesia which may cause
death on the operating table.
The subconjunctival antibiotic
injection was given. A horizontal 3/0
absorbable suture stitches up the
upper and lower eyelids. Antibiotic
eye ointment was applied and given
daily for 5-7 days.
the dog's right eyeball is closed, the
painful corneal ulcer is not irritated
by the drying air and dust. The ulcer
heals very well. Usually, the ulcer
heals over 70% in 7 days. The stitch
breaks down in 7-10 days due to
eyeball motion and tension but the
ulcer should heal well as it is
treated early, around 2 days after
failure of treatment by the owner.
For many Shih Tzu owners, money
to pay for the veterinary treatment is
Therefore I don't recommend
surgical removal of the facial fold.
This surgery will have prevented
further problems of corneal ulceration
in Shih Tzus and also the Pekinese.
The facial folds have hairs growing
into the eye ball and therefore
causing ulcerations of the cornea. For
owners who get the facial fold hairs
clipped every 2 months for the rest of
the dog's life, there should be no
problem. But many owners have no time
for regular grooming.
Eye care is especially
important in the Shih Tzu if you want
clear corneas and freedom of painful
eyes for your pet.
A facial fold surgery may be
the solution if you don't have time
for regular grooming because the
facial fold hairs will no longer be
around. Removal of the facial fold
flattens the area below the eyeball as
in other breeds. So there is no more
growth of hair towards the eyeball. No
more irritation, rubbing and corneal
ulceration for the life of the Shih
Tzu --- enabling the corneal ulcer to
be clear and transparent and saving
the owner lots of worries, veterinary
treatment and the dog lots of pain due
to corneal ulceration.
You will see many older Singapore Shih
Tzus with cloudy, rough, black
pigmented corneas and red blood
vessels as the owners do not have time
for treatment of the corneal ulcers.
The Shih Tzu rubs its eyes till the
cornea becomes hardened and pigmented
as a consequence of the lack of care.
Some develop dry eyes as tears stop
flowing. Treatment to recover a
transparent cornea is too late. The
dog lives with the eye pain and the
Maybe the best thing for a Singapore
parent to do is not to buy Shih Tzu
puppies for your children. Consider
other breeds with no facial folds.
BE KIND TO SHIH TZUS
Corneal ulcerations are
Consult your vet promptly before the
dog becomes blind.
2006. Health Concerns in the Shih Tzu
- Dr Sing Kong Yuen
2010 CASE: A
SHIH TZU'S EYEBALL POPS OUT
"Her left eyeball popped out after 5 pm yesterday
as I saw her at that time and she was OK," lady
owner said. Another dog had jumped onto this Shih
Tzu. The eyeball pops out <24 hours. I could see
that the dog had been rubbing eye vigorously till
the upper area above the eyelid was a purplish red
and the sclera (eye white) was as blood shot as it
could ever be.
Shih Tzu recovered well from anaesthesia as if
from a nap. I phoned the worried lady to let her
know that her dog was OK. Details are at:
Eye injuries in a Pomeranian. Eye
ulcers and eyeball prolapse in the
More info at:
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tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326
Be Kind To Pets
All rights reserved. Revised: July 29, 2010
Toa Payoh Vets