The story of our one-eyed dog.
a.k.a. Why I haven’t blogged for weeks…
If you’ve ever visited Elsie Pop before, you will have seen numerous photos of our lovely dog Poppy. Poppy is a 2 year old, happy-go-lucky yellow labrador and one of the loves of my life.
Poppy is a typical labrador, with an insatiable appetite for everything – food, sniffing, playing – she generally loves life and is brimming with personality. She changed our lives forever as soon as she arrived with her fun personality, her “stroppy Poppy” moments and a massive cloud of dog hair (one of the first things we bought after the dog was a SERIOUS hoover).
As I’ve mentioned on here before, we like to go on doggy holidays with Poppy – we’ve taken her to Scotland once, which was a bit too much of a drive for her, so this year we stayed closer to home and took her to Somerset.
We had a fabulous time with her, climbing Glastonbury Tor, taking her to the Abbey and going to meet her dog family over near Wells, which was an amazing day. She loved everything we did the whole weekend – seeing her so happy and excited by everything was one of the best parts of the break.
Her enjoyment of the whole weekend made it even more heartbreaking when, the morning after we got back, we noticed a large swelling over her eye. We think she was bitten or stung in the eye at some point over our idyllic weekend away.
We took her straight to the vet that morning, and that turned out to be the start of a horrendous six weeks.
Poppy’s swelling turned into a horrible weeping eye the next morning, and the next day the eye completely clouded over. We saw our local veterinary ophthalmologist, who diagnosed panuveitis and threw everything he could at the eye to make it better. At the peak of the treatment, Poppy was having two sets of eye drops administered four times a day, as well as two different types of pills given twice a day (we are now experts at concealing pills in a variety of foodstuffs – happy to give tips!).
About three weeks into her treatment, with the clouding cleared, we were told she wouldn’t regain her vision in the eye, but were reassured that it looked like the eye itself was saved.
We were down to eye drops only for two weeks, at the end of which we started to notice some clouding coming back in the eye. Back to the vet another time, we received the terrible news that the clouding this time was caused by a secondary glaucoma. A secondary glaucoma was the very news we did not want.
At this point, we were told we had no choice but to remove Poppy’s eye.
I can’t tell you how much I struggled with this – it all seemed so unfair. Our perfect, good-natured dog who wouldn’t harm anyone was having to go through something irreversible and painful because of a total freak occurrence.
When I read up on secondary glaucoma more, I kept seeing it described as like having a permanent migraine. The thought of our lovely Poppy going through constant pain like that was awful, and she was starting to show that she was in pain.
One morning, our insatiably hungry dog refused her breakfast. We knew then that we had to go through with the removal as soon as we could. She was blind in the eye anyway, and at that point I had stopped seeing it as a part of Poppy and started seeing it as a time bomb. This visionless eye could continue to cause her such intense pain, or we could remove it and let her start getting on with life.
We booked the operation in for a couple of days later and went home with intense painkillers and some glaucoma drops to make life bearable for her in the interim.
…and then, Poppy reacted horribly to the glaucoma drops. This dog can’t catch a break! The eye immediately became what we christened “the giant zombie dog eye from hell”. I’ve never seen anything like it – and photos do not do it justice. She was in agony. She couldn’t bend down to drink or eat, she couldn’t walk more than a few steps and she was constantly panting. I’ve never seen any person or animal in pain like it.
We moved the operation forward. In the end it was carried out by an out of hours vet about half an hour’s drive away from home. The procedure went really well in spite of the dreadful swelling in the eye, and we picked her up the next morning.
After a day and a half of wooziness recovering from the general anaesthetic and strong painkillers, we noticed something amazing – we have Poppy back!
It’s only now she’s obviously feeling better that we realise how bad she must have felt the whole time we were treating the eye.
We still have a little way to go – her stitches are still in, but they come out soon. Today is her last day on painkillers and antibiotics. We are getting there.
Poppy is desperate to run around, play football, go swimming and generally be a dog again, and can’t work out why we’re not letting her. She has no idea she’s missing an eye – she has already adapted so well to the situation.
We’re in awe of our superdog. I can’t wait to crochet her some dog eye patches!