Dogs can have abscesses show up on most any part of their body. Abscesses on their head and neck are just a few that dog owner’s can watch for. Retrobulbar and Submandibular abscesses are two of these head and neck abscesses.
Retrobulbar abscesses are abscesses that form behind the dog’s eye. This abscess or pus filled lump is usually caused by the dog having an infection in its sinuses or in another area of the head such as its teeth, mouth or one of it’s eyes. Systemic infections can also be the cause of head and Neck Abscesses in dogs, but abscesses are not always caused by one of these infections but from a piece of foreign material migrating into the area.
When Retrubulbar abscesses occur, there is usually only one eye affected. The affected eye will bulge out due to the abscess that is behind it or there may be some swelling in the tissues that surround the affected eye. Other symptoms of Retrobulbar abscesses are the dog’s third eyelid on the affected eye prolapsing partly over the cornea of that eye. The afflicted dog may also have pain when it opens its mouth which will lead to it refusing to eat or refusing to eat hard food. It may also cry or whine when it is chewing due to the pain in its mouth. The dog may also run fever and be lethargic.
Diagnosis of Retrobulbar abscesses are done by a veterinarian who will more than likely do a thorough exam on the dog’s eye that is presenting the symptoms and on the other eye as well. A fluorescein stain may be administered to the dog’s cornea so the vet can look for an ulceration. Pressure in the eye is also usually checked and the vet will probably attempt to check the dog’s mouth. Diagnosing Retrobulbar abscesses may require sedation of the dog due to the pain associated with the condition. The vet may also do a physical exam, a blood count, a urinalysis, a biochemical profile and an ultrasound of the tissues located behind the eye and of the eye itself as well as x-raying the dog’s mouth and its teeth. A diagnosis will aid the vet in determining the best treatment process for the dog.
Treatment of Retrobulbar abscesses are determined by the vet’s diagnosis of the condition. Findings during the diagnosis process will determine, or should determine, two things. One is whether the dog has a Retrobulbar abscess or not and the second is what is causing the Retrobulbar abscess. Treatment will get rid of the infection that is causing this Head and Neck Abscess and will also include draining the abscess. The infection will be treated with oral and topical antibiotics as the vet has prescribed and the dog owner should see an improvement in the dog’s condition in 48 hours to 72 hours later. If there is no improvement during these hours or if the situation worsens, the vet may have to surgically open the abscess. This procedure calls for general anesthetic and the vet going behind the dog’s last molar on the top inside the mouth and making a small incision.