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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27957
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My cairn is now 14 years of age. Unfortunately he had a vet

Customer Question

My cairn is now 14 years of age. Unfortunately he had a vet as a puppy who missed Lymes and high dosages of steroids and Doxycyline killed his thyroid. He does take Levothyroxin .01 mg twice daily. Other than that he has no other health problems except his eyes. At 8 years of age he developed bilateral cataracts in less than 1 year. He had cataract surgery which showed remarkable improvement. He returned to playing, jumping and etc. Last year he developed glaucoma in left eye and has been requiring medication. He then began to develop corneal lesions bilaterally and has had debridement, continued medication and now had a severe lesion which became infected. I am giving q2hours antibiotics and serum. I want to know if there is any surgery to fix the problem because I am getting frustrated. I will not have his eyes removed. As I said he is healthy otherwise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Can you clarify for me, please, if Shadow is currently under the care of a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist? There are surgeries performed (grafting) which can hasten healing of chronic corneal damage and these are mainly performed by such a specialist. Please see here:

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is under the care of Animal Eye Care in Baltimore. But I just feel that this has become never ending. There was mention of corneal grafting last week with the visit when I was told that the current infection began to melt away the corneal. I am giving him Serum, Tobramycin, and Vigamox now. Will the corneal grafting end these lesions or is there some other alternative so this does not continue to occur?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. I'm sure that you understand that I must defer to Shadow's specialist who understands the current condition in Shadow's eye(s) better than I could from here. To answer you directly, yes, grafting might well hasten healing. Such healing is necessarily predicated upon the ability to eliminate the current infection. Even a graft will fail if infection can't be controlled. I'm frustrated that I can't be more specific for you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will he continue to get corneal lesions on this eye? I am becoming frustrated with the eye vet because I feel that this continues to drag on and so does the cost.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I regret that I can't know that answer. I don't know what prompted his initial corneal damage. Has that been discussed with you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They are occurring on both eyes and I have been told that this is a problem with cairns and a effect of cataract surgery.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. My next question to his specialist would be "Having had cataract surgery can I expect Shadow to recover from his current problem and, if so, what is the likelihood of his relapsing"?

I agree. There comes a time when it doesn't make sense to continue treatment if only because my patient's quality of life is unsatisfactory.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Will corneal grafting end this problem?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Not necessarily and that's why you need to have his specialist be quite frank with you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK here is my big question... I am a nurse so I realize there are risks involved in all medical care...Are eye transplants being performed in dogs? If so where, do you have any idea of cost involved, and are they successful?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately, corneal transplants are rarely performed in canine patients due to the expense of the surgery and follow-up care, relatively high risk of complications, and lack of appropriate donor tissue. Once again, his specialist is the best source of information concerning such a surgery. Generalist vets don't perform corneal transplants.