Corneal Ulcer

Corneal Ulcer


What is a corneal ulcer?

The cornea is the transparent front layer of the eyeball.  It is made up of several complex layers.  An ulcer occurs when there is a disruption to one or more layers of the cornea.  An ulcer can be very shallow and only effect minimal layers (ex: a scratch or abrasion).  They can also be very deep and can possibly cause the eye to rupture.  If the ulcer is deep there is a chance that the animal’s vision may be affected.

What causes an ulcer?

  • Trauma
  • Chemicals
  • Infection
  • Tear film abnormalities (ex: dry eye syndrome/KCS, distichiasis or ectopic cilia)
  • Exposure Keratopathy  (ex: poor closure of eyelids such as breeds with protruding eyes).

How are corneal ulcers treated?

  1. Superficial, uncomplicated ulcers will require a topical antibiotic ointment and will heal within a few days.
  2. Deep ulcers may require surgery to prevent the eye from rupturing.  The surgery is called a conjunctival flap where a portion of the pink soft tissue that surrounds the eye is placed directly on the ulcer.

What you will have to do at home

  • Most commonly antibiotic eye drops are recommended.  For tips on how to administer eye medication to your pet check out this website:     
  • Wait 5 minutes between different eye drops (to allow the previous medication time to absorb in the eye).
  • Always apply ointment AFTER all of the drops have been applied.
  • Keep the head collar on at all times, especially at night.
  • Wipe away any discharge with a clean cloth.
  • Keep your pet as calm as possible.


If you have any other questions or concerns regarding your pet’s eye, please call us at (519) 250-0099.


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