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Date:   03 October, 2011  

 Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
The fluorescein stain test - Which of the two methods to use?
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

I notice that one vet would syringe normal saline onto the eyes first to flush out debris, then apply the orange strip onto the eye. The dog's eyelids are closed. The dye which turns green on contact with the eyes is then flushed away with another syringe of saline. This method is described in her Vet text book and is practised by vets.

All these years, my method is to drop eye drops onto the eyes to clear the eye debris, if necessary. If the eyes are clear, I place the orange strip onto the eye, use my thumb and fingers to close the eyelids for a few seconds. The orange dye from the eye strip will stain ulcers green. Then, I use eye drops to flush away the excess dye. Any ulcers of the cornea will be appear as green spots and are proof to the owner that her dog has eye ulcers.

There are more than one way to do a procedure. But mine is the better way. Syringing a dog's eyes with normal saline can be quite stressful to the dog that is not sedated. Imagine the doctor syringing your eye with a mild force. You may understand what will happen but not the dog. The dog may bite if not muzzled and the owner gets upset. I may muzzle the dog and place the strip directly into the eye in one swift motion. The whole process takes less than two minutes to stain and show the ulcers as contrasted to the need to draw saline and syringe it two times - one before and one after the application of fluorescein dye.   

Each vet has his or her own style of doing procedures or surgeries. Sometimes, the Vet text book procedure is not to be adopted if it is inefficient, traumatic or uses up more materials or takes more time.

This case study is at:

Treat a corneal ulcer within 24 hours as it is a veterinary emergency
A corneal ulcer is painful and animals with ulcers often squint their eyes. It is wise to consult your veterinarian immediately as the ulcer may be a deep one or an infected one. When the animal continues to rub its eye, the corneal ulcer ruptures and the gelatinous aqueous or vitreous substance comes out. 

The eyeball collapses and the animal will have lost it vision. When this happens, there is very little the doctor can do except to cut out the eyeball.  If the bacteria goes into the aqueous and the vitreous, the eyeball becomes infected and is very painful. This infected eyeball may need to be removed by surgery too.   

Hence, it is always important to treat eye injuries as an emergency and consult your veterinarian. 


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Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
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