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Don't Beat Around The Bush

Tipp's Tale

Tipp is a 4 year old English Springer Spaniel who, like all mad Spaniels, loves his walks and particularly likes running through the undergrowth. During one particularly exhilarating walk earlier last year, he managed to impale his left eye with a thorn.

The thorn went through the full thickness of his cornea (the clear window of the eye), hit the iris (the coloured part around the pupil) and then went into the lens, making a tear in the lens capsule and causing a traumatic cataract.

A dog's eye impaired with a thorn.


Tipp’s left eye was impaled with a thorn whilst out on a walk

Unfortunately lens material is considered “foreign” to the eye and, when the lens capsule is torn and the lens material inside it is exposed, it can trigger a very severe inflammation that can end up with an eye having to be removed.


The tear in Tipp’s Lens Capsule 

Several years ago it was thought that if a lens capsule tear was over 1.5 mm long, the lens should be removed (by a procedure similar to cataract surgery) in order to prevent this inflammation occurring. In more recent years better topical eye drugs have been developed that will treat the inflammation and also treat the bacteria that would have been inoculated into the eye/lens on the tip of the thorn.

Tipp's Treatment

Tipp was taken to his own vets as soon as his owners noticed the injury and they immediately referred him to Sue Manning at Pride Veterinary Centre. The thorn was removed under general anaesthesia and the “hole” in his cornea was sealed with a tiny suture.


A close up image of dog's damaged eye

The suture used to repair the tear was the thickness of a single hair  

Intensive treatment was then commenced with topical and systemic antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs, after which the inflammation reduced.

Tipp's Recovery

Tipp had to stay on topical eye drops for a few months and will have to have his eye checked regularly in case the cataract does progress in the future.


A tear in a dog's eye sealing over.

Lens capsule tear is sealing 

Now when Tipp goes out for a walk, his owners fit him with protective goggles. He adapted to them immediately and even puts his head into them eagerly when his owners get them out as he knows it means he is going for a walk!

Tipp looking super cool in his new goggles The goggles haven’t stopped Tipp from running through the undergrowth on his walks.

Tipp’s looking super cool in his new goggles 

They haven't stopped Tipp from running through the undergrowth on his walks

Tipp wanted to share his story to increase awareness of the potential for this injury in like-minded dogs as well as to show people how it can be prevented!