Can Pugs’ Eyes Pop Out? Really?

A Pug’s Eye’s are one of its more prominent features. They may or may not be windows to the soul, but they sure are cute. I have had people jokingly ask me if the dog gets hit from behind, will the eyes pop out. We’ve all seen cartoon and movies where a character stumbles around the room trying to find the eyeball, while the later rolls around on the floor.

Well, Can the eyes of a Pug Actually Pop Out?

The answer is yes, they can, and it does happen. Eye Displacement is a real medical condition called Proptosis. Short-nosed breeds, called Brachycephalic Breeds, have very shallow eye sockets and with the right (or wrong) kind of pressure or force, the eyeball itself can be dislodged from its place.

It’s actually much more common then people think, especially with Pugs, Shi-Tzus, Boston Terriers, and Bulldogs. Let’s take a closer look to why eye displacement may happen, how to deal with it and how we may or may not be able to avoid it.

Types of Proptosis in Pugs

This condition is not exclusive to Brachycephalic Breeds and actually not to dogs. You’ll be surprised to know that this medical condition exists in Humans too. Fun Fact, there are people who know how to ‘pop their eyes’ out and then push them back in. This would, of course, be ‘partial’ eye displacement. In Some cases, their eyeball can be completely outside of the eyelid.

Reasons for Eye-Popping

The number one reason for an eye to dislodge from its socket is trauma or injuries. Pugs usually weigh under 20 pounds (roughly 9kg) it doesn’t take much force to affect the whole body and even less for their small heads. Assuming nobody is intentionally trying to hit a Pug, this can happen at playtime, with other, larger dogs or by any type of accident or fall.

Other, less common causes for eyeball dislocation can be the result of internal pressure in or behind the eye. This can be the result of an infection, bleeding or a tumor.

First Aid

Your actions until you get the wounded dog to a vet may be able to save the eye and eyesight.

If you encounter an eye dislodged from its socket, the first thing to do is protect the area from infection or further trauma. Keeping the area clean from dirt or any other contaminants is crucial. Do make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. If the area looks dirty it is best to wash it with sterile eye wash (which always good to have as a Pug owner). Eyewash pads can also be used but only if you are comfortable with it, the eyeball is very sensitive to scratches. Cover the area with sterile gauze.

Do not try and disinfect the area and or shove the eyeball back in. If you have a protective collar to prevent your dog from causing any further damage. There may not be any pain involved, but there is sure to be discomfort

Do rush to the closest vet.

Treatment

A vet will asses the severity of the situation. This can range, depending on the trauma the dog suffered, the general health, how extreme the displacement is and the amount infection.

In mild situations cleaning the area and applying light pressure may just do the trick and it’ll pop right back into its socket. Some antibiotics may be given to avoid any possible future infections and after a short recovery time, your pug may be as good as new. If the cause was external recovery may be full.

See it in the video below

In more extreme cases the eyeball may be far enough from the socket that the eyelid has partially closed behind it. In this case, the vet will have to pull the eyelids out and beyond the eyeball forcing them to ‘swallow’ it back in. The eyelids will them be sutured shut for the whole area to recover. Antibiotics will probably be administered to avoid infection.  The sutures will probably come off in a few days and but full recovery will take a few more weeks.

See procedure in the video below

WARNING: GRAPHIC MEDICAL SURGERY. DO NOT WATCH THIS IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO THE SIGHT OF BLOOD, SUTURING OR MEDICAL PROCEDURES.

This video shows a surgical procedure performed by a veterinarian. It shows a dog under full anesthesia, with one eye fully dislodged from its socket.

Treatment

A vet will asses the severity of the situation. This can range, depending on the trauma the dog suffered, the general health, how extreme the displacement is and the amount infection.

In mild situations cleaning the area and applying light pressure may just do the trick and it’ll pop right back into its socket. Some antibiotics may be given to avoid any possible future infections and after a short recovery time, your pug may be as good as new. If the cause was external recovery may be full.

See it in the video below

In more extreme cases the eyeball may be far enough from the socket that the eyelid has partially closed behind it. In this case, the vet will have to pull the eyelids out and beyond the eyeball forcing them to ‘swallow’ it back in. The eyelids will them be sutured shut for the whole area to recover. Antibiotics will probably be administered to avoid infection.  The sutures will probably come off in a few days and but full recovery will take a few more weeks.

See procedure in the video below

WARNING: GRAPHIC MEDICAL SURGERY. DO NOT WATCH THIS IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO THE SIGHT OF BLOOD, SUTURING OR MEDICAL PROCEDURES.

This video shows a surgical procedure performed by a veterinarian. It shows a dog under full anesthesia, with one eye fully dislodged from its socket.

Prognosis

It is very hard to know the outcome since it is very random and individual. However, it important to remember that the mere displacement of the eyeball, as jarring as it looks, is not that dangerous and may not damage the eye and the eyesight by itself. Any additional trauma or infections may complicate the situation. If handled properly and rushed to a vet, there is a pretty good chance the whole ordeal will end with no permanent damage.

In the worst-case scenario, dogs who have lost eyesight in one eye tend to recover and adjust to their new condition very well. Remember, dogs rely on their other senses more than we do and as long as they have a loving and protective environment (as most Pugs have) they fare just fine. It may severely hurt their hunting capabilities but who are we kidding, they are Pugs.

Prevention

Since the vast majority of Proptosis is a result of an accident or injury, there is really not much to do as far as prevention. However, healthy eyes will probably be able to sustain injuries better and also do better and faster if and when it comes to recovery.  Taking care of your Pugs eyes should however be an ongoing mission and part of a Pugs routine care

The eye is the ‘Achilles heel’ of Pugs

There is a reason people wonder about Pugs’ eyes popping out and not Golden retrievers’. The Pugs cute face and soulful eyes come at a price. Because of the anatomical structure of pugs, and other Brachycephalic Breeds, their eyes a prone to all kind of ailments. Also take into account that because of the way the eyes work, on a mechanical level, the bulgy ones are also more sensitive to dusty environments and very dry weather.

Pug Eye Issues can be divided into two categories:

  • Scratches to the Eye Itself – Corneal Abrasions or Ulcerations
  • Internal or Structural Eye conditions

Corneal Abrasions or Ulcerations

Under this category fall External Scratches, Distichiasis, Entropion, and Dry Eye

External Scratches

A Pug may get scratches by running in the bush, brushing against something or even as a self-inflicted wound. This also includes any foreign object like hair, sand or debris that gets stuck in the in the eye. In any of these cases, the Cornea is the one paying the price. The cornea has 4 layers with the level of the injury correlating to the depth of the scratch. The symptoms will similar and will include irritation and redness to the eye.  The dog may try to rub his eyes. In any of the cases, you would want to get your pug to a vet as soon as possible. The injury may not be severe and the treatment may just be some ointment or eye drops. The problem is either when the injury is worse than it looks, or when it is neglected and an infection can start. These can both get complicated and end up with either un-necessary surgery or even permanent damage to the eyes and the eyesight.

Distichiasis – Eyelash Irritation

This condition has to do with the eyelashes scratching the cornea. We are talking about eyelash hairs that have grown from the wrong side of the eyelid or have grown into the bottom of the lid. In both cases, you now have hair that is constantly rubbing against the Cornea and scratching it. The symptoms will again include irritation, redness, tearing and general discomfort. The treatment may be easy as removing or plucking some hairs and may require minor surgery if the problem persists and the unruly hairs have to be removed with their follicles.

Entropion – Flipped Eyelid

Somewhat similar to the former, but this time it’s not just a stray hair, it’s the eyelid itself. This flipping of the eyelid usually happens to pup under a year old and can create great irritation and can also cause infection and if not treated lead to ulcers. The symptoms will probably be hard to ignore with redness and a very unhappy pup. A quick trip to the vet may result in minor surgery to adjust the eyelid back to its place.

Internal or Structural Eye conditions

These include such conditions as Cherry Eye, Pigmentary Keratitis and Cataract.

Cherry Eye

This condition is caused by inflammation of the tear duct, resulting in a typical red bulge, hence the name. Other than the red ‘Cherry’ there will be redness, irritation, and inflammation. Your vet will need to reduce the swelling and position the inflamed membrane back to its place with minor surgery.

Pigmentary Keratitis

A condition where the white area of the eye is tainted by the brown Melanin which normally colors the iris. The symptoms can be seen as dots or patches of brown color on the sclera. If they spread, they will reduce the eyesight up until blindness. The treatment will usually focus on the underlying cause which may be one of the formerly mentioned conditions.

Cataract

Much like cataract in humans, it involves deterioration of the opacity of the lens resulting in a cloudy looking eye. Sight will be reduced and get blurry. The cataract will more commonly be found in older dogs and can be removed surgically

Conclusion

The Pugs eyes are as sensitive as they are cute. Most conditions can be treated successfully and with no permanent damage to the eye or the eyesight. The key ingredient here is early detection.

We can’t prevent every accident and avoid every disease, but if we are attentive to our Pug’s behavior, regularly check to see if his eyes look healthy and have your vet involved in anything out of the ordinary, your Pug should stay adorable and bright-eyed.

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Can Pugs' Eyes Pop Out? Really?
Article Name
Can Pugs' Eyes Pop Out? Really?
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Eye Displacement is a real medical condition called Proptosis. Short-nosed breeds, called Brachycephalic Breeds, have very shallow eye sockets and with the right (or wrong) kind of pressure or force, the eyeball itself can be dislodged from its place.
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