Case File

A French Bulldog with a sore eye - a Case Story

by Louise Harrison - BVetMed MRCVS Veterinary Surgeon

Marnie the French Bulldog came in to see me with a sore eye. Her examination showed she had a large corneal ulcer, which is a scratch on the surface of the eye. The cornea is an essential part of the eye, and untreated problems can lead to blindness and long-term pain.

She was prescribed a course of eye drops, and pain relief. Normally the cornea heals quickly, and treatment is usually stopped after only 5-7 days. But in some cases, healing is delayed, for a number of reasons. These are termed ‘non-healing ulcers.’ They occur when the edges of the ulcer are trying to heal by growing centrally, towards the middle of the ulcer, but failing to re-attach to the cornea underneath. This leads to loose edges which lie over the ulcer but never fully heal.


Unfortunately, this was the case for Marnie; even after two weeks of treatment, the ulcer wasn’t making progress. Luckily, we can perform surgery to help the ulcer heal. We use a piece of equipment called a diamond burr, which is a soft drill that rotates at a very high frequency. This gently debrides the surface of the cornea, which removes loose edges, and stimulates healing.

In Marnie’s case, once the ulcer was debrided using the diamond burr, it was twice as large as we originally thought, so it’s no wonder she was so uncomfortable! Afterwards, a contact lens was placed to protect the cornea during healing, and she was off home to heal with some more eye drops.