S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
Graphics courtesy of:
S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
“Eyes large, round, not prominent, placed well apart, looking straight ahead. Very dark.”

Those words along with the rest of the Shih Tzu standard are the description we all use as the blueprint for our breed. The eyes give the beautiful expression everyone loves when looking at a lovely Tzu. The eyes can also be their nemesis, causing several types of eye conditions. Anyone in the breed for any length of time will attest to this.

After having a few eye problems at S’Dandi, certain medications have been prescribed by the vets I use. Some of them are for human eyes but work equally well for dogs. My Opthamalogist Vet told me that if a puppy buyer will put one drop of Tears Naturale II in the puppy’s eyes daily, it will help prevent eye problems. I found that the box that says Polyquad is the better of the two Tears Naturale II products produced for use with our breed. Another “tears” product recommended by the above Veterinarian is GenTeal Gel, also a human product. This one is in gel form making it last a little longer in the eye. It is also a little harder to administer. It is well worth the effort if the dog has a bit of dry eye. And, the most miraculous ointment, in my opinion, is Muro 128, which is a 5% Sodium/Cloride combination, another human product. This one, when added to other medications prescribed, saved one of my furry kids that had an injury causing a severe eye ulcer.

Sometimes, accidents just happen no matter how hard one tries to watch and take care of any breed. Somehow, Betsy injured her left eye. As soon as it was noticed, we took her to a vet. Since we were on our winter journey, the only vet that had a machine to measure pressure was one I had not used before. The machine was one of the old weight types that should have been donated to some medical museum. (Most of the vets have the new Tonometer that responds to slightly touching the eye for a digital readout of the pressures.) However, we had to use what was available in this small town in Oklahoma.

Betsy hated it, wouldn’t hold still so the weights moved back and forth over her eye making the ulcer, which originally wasn’t all that bad, even worse.

We left with an antibiotic to use several times a day. The following day, the eye looked even worse. I didn't go back to that vet but called an Opthalmalogist in San Antonio, that I have used while in Texas, asking for his opinion. He put together a regimen of how to attempt to save her eye. We used Tobramycin four times a day, Tears Naturale II four times a day, Muro 128 two times a day along with Trusopt and Timolo twice a day for the pressure. It seemed all I did was drop Betsy’s eye. The ulcer was slow to respond.

When we arrived at the next show where there was an eye clinic, we hurried into the Opthalmogist there for another opinion. His suggestion was to have surgery that would put a flap over the eye or remove it due to the fact that she was almost 12 years old. He was hesitant that it could be saved.
Betsy’s most beautiful attribute is her large, round, black eyes. We have always said that has been her saving grace. We were now being presented with losing one of those gorgeous eyes. We were devastated to say the least. Betsy has never had any real health issues until this injury. We decided to try to get home where our trusted vets are always there for me. We even made an appointment to have the surgery needed to remove the eye.

When we got to our vet’s office at 8 A.M., he examined the eye, used the Tonometer that showed the pressures were back to normal and asked, “And why are we taking this out?” Those words were music to my ears. We described everything leading up to this visit after which he suggested we wait a little longer. “I can always remove this eye, but the vessels are all vasculating in this cornea which means the blood is there and her body is trying to heal itself.” Armed with new hope, we continued on the medication regimen and took Betsy home. Two weeks later, with the ulcer healed over, her medication was changed to an antibiotic with steriod to help eliminate the scarring. Steriods are not to be used on an open eye ulcer. The result will be disastrous. She had a huge gray spot in the center of the cornea. She still had sight even though she had the spot to look around, but she also still had her eye. After several weeks of the new medication, the scarring receded. Now, four month later, there is no sign of a scar or of the injury. Her eyes are back to their beautiful state. It is some kind of miracle. It is also due to intense diligence in medicating.

If you have the need for eye meds, one thing to remember is that there needs to be at least a fifteen-minute period between each of the medications for them to work their best. That in itself is a hard thing to do. I had to set a timer so I wouldn’t get busy and forget. But…it worked, and Betsy still has her eye.

As with any health issue, your veterinarian is the place to start. The above story is just what worked for us. The products suggested were all from the specialists. Luckily for Betsy, we were not home where I might have jumped more quickly on getting it better no matter what. We were forced to take the time, almost a month initially, before there was some improvement. The saving grace was that with daily observation and medication, it didn’t escalate into an exploding cornea. We all were lucky, especially Betsy!
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