Now Seeing Eye to Eye
Wandering aimlessly through the streets in a rural area north of Columbia, SC, Yogi was found very underweight and worn, with no tags. The tip of his ears were all chewed up and on examination, tested a strong positive for heartworm, for which he underwent lengthy and rigorous treatment. The Fredericos always had a dog and at the time were looking for a new companion pet and Yogi was just what they needed. Since August 2009 Yogi has been a welcome addition to the Frederico family, who recently relocated back to their roots in Massachusetts. Though it was shortly discovered after his adoption that he had birdshot pellets throughout his body (which it was recommended not be removed), Yogi has been very healthy and a great companion. “Even though Chow Chows have a reputation of being somewhat aggressive, Yogi is the sweetest dog ever,” says Linda.
As a Chow Chow, though, he is susceptible to a condition known as entropion, where the eyelids turn inward. This results in the eyelashes and skin rubbing against the eye surface, causing irritation and discomfort and potentially permanent damage to the eyes.
Yogi’s primary care veterinarian at the Shrewsbury Community Animal Hospital recommended referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist. With the Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in the Fredericos’ “backyard,” they scheduled an appointment with the Ophthalmology Service and saw Dr. Kara Gornik in October 2013. Dogs with entropion usually squint and have watery eyes. If it is not surgically corrected and the rubbing persists, ulcers can develop on the cornea and the cornea can become pigmented. “The ulcers themselves may require surgical removal or potentially removal of the eye may be necessary,” says Dr. Gornik. There was no question that Yogi would need entropion surgery or risk serious eye problems.
The surgery was scheduled within a week of their first visit with Foster Hospital for Small Animals and went very smoothly. Owner Linda was a bit apprehensive to do the surgery because of the anesthesia, but the staff put her at ease. Tufts typically keeps dogs undergoing this procedure overnight but because Yogi has a bit of separation anxiety and a fear of crates, they made an exception. “Even as late in the day as it was when the surgery was done, we were lucky to be home with Yogi by dinner time,” recalls Linda.
Breezing straight through surgery, Yogi has also made a complete recovery and the Fredericos can’t be more satisfied. Linda describes the improvements since the surgery. “We really didn’t expect to notice a change. He wore the cone for 4-6 weeks and when we took the cone off, you could see that even Yogi noticed a difference. He never made eye contact with us previously, but now he sees ‘eye to eye.’ We always thought it was because he was a rescue dog and may have been due to how he was previously treated. Now we think it may have been uncomfortable to look up because of the deformity in his eyelids.”
Linda and husband Mike are truly grateful to have access to such advanced veterinary care and technology so close to home. They are also so pleased with Dr. Gornik and the entire Tufts Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine team, who, with compassion, provided Yogi with the highest quality care and have given him the opportunity to see the world in a new and different way.