Eye Displacement in Dogs

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 2, 2008
Eye Displacement in Dogs

Proptosis in Dogs

Proptosis is a medical condition which causes a dog's eye to move forward. This typically noticeable (and unseemly) medical condition is frequently associated with head trauma, and often threatens the dog's vision. Therefore, immediate veterinary examination and treatment is vital to restoring or saving the dog's eyesight.

Proptosis affects both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how this condition affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

The most common symptom is an eyeball which protrudes significantly more than normal. Other possible signs include:


The most common cause is an injury to the head or face. The force, in fact, does not have to be severe to cause the eye to displace. In rare cases, eye tumors or other serious infections can cause the eye to move out of place.


The two most common diagnoses for this condition include:

  • Bupthalmia - When the globe of the eye has become enlarged. The eyelids are still properly positioned, but the eyelid cannot cover the eye.
  • Exophthalmia - When the globe of the eye has been displaced forward, causing it to protrude from the normal eye socket location.



Treatment generally involves putting the eye back into position. This is typically done under sedation to ensure the dog remains stable. Afterwards, antibiotics are often administered to prevent infection until the sutures are removed. If a severe injury makes it impossible to save the eye, removing it completely to avoid any further complications is recommended.

Some common signs once the eye has been repositioned can include:

  • Blindness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased ability to produce tears
  • Decrease sensitivity of the cornea

Living and Management

In most cases, the dog's eye can be saved. Although, proper wound care is necessary until the sutures, if any were used after replacing the eye, are removed.


Unfortunately, there are currently no known preventative measures for this medical condition.

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