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Eye problem in Jack russell terrier

by Marilyn
(Rockford, IL)


Buster has a history of chronic skin allergies. We have tried several treatments, but the most successful have been steroid injections (depo medrol) approx. every 8 weeks along with benadryl for many years at this point.

His diet is primarily Iams weight control dry food mixed with lean ground beef or turkey. He is an 8 year old male jack russell terrier.

In early March I noticed that his eye was half shut at times and then it appeared to be grayish in color - his skin allergies were starting up again so I took him in to the vet on March 14th to get an injection and have his eye looked at.

The vet stained his eye and did not see any injury and prescribed an eye ointment 2x per day for 1 week (neomycin and polymixin B sulfates, bacitracin zinc and hydrocortisone ointment) which seemed to clear up the inflammation, although the eye still looked cloudy. The eye flared up again at the beginning of April and I applied the ointment for about 3 days and again it seemed to improve.

By April 9th it was again inflamed and the vet said to try the ointment and we made an appt for April 12th. By April 12th (after 5 days of treatment) the eye was worse than ever and Buster had a fever of 102 and had stopped eating - he was listless and needed to be carried outside.

The vet did blood work that only showed slightly elevated liver enzymes and glucose (which she thought could be due to the stress he was under). I was advised to continue the ointment and she also prescribed Atropine drops for the pain.

He has also been wearing a collar for 4 days since his last vet visit. His appetite and behavior have improved and as of today his eye is open but weepy and it is very gray in color. I'm not sure how well it shows in the photo.

I am concerned that his other eye may be showing signs of the grayness. We have an appt with an ophthalmologist on Monday the 18th. The picture is from today. I have read a lot online about various eye problems and I'm not sure any of them apply to what is going on with Buster.

Could this be related to the years of steroid injections? I've also read about detached lenses in Jack russells, could that be? I would appreciate any advise or suggestions for treatment and also what things to ask or be aware of when we visit the eye specialist on Monday.

Thank you in advance!!

Comments for Eye problem in Jack russell terrier

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Apr 17, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Eye Problem in Jack Russell Terrier
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Marilyn,
From the photo of Buster it looks like the problem is mainly in the cornea of his eye. And I am concerned that the years of cortisone injections may be related. Cortisone will cause elevated liver enzymes, and in Chinese Medicine, the eyes are the 'outlet' for the liver.

Having a veterinary ophthalmologist examine Buster's eyes for a diagnosis is excellent. In the meantime, finding some 'alternative' ways to deal with his allergies would be the next step!

Skin problems can certainly be a challenge. Whether he has dog food allergies, seasonal allergies, flea allergies, contact allergies, or all of the above, can be treated and in some cases 'cured' with alternative medicine such as homeopathy or Acupuncture.

Diet is VERY important.

Here's what I would suggest for Buster:
1. He needs liver support. Providing healing herbs for the liver even while he has had a cortisone injection, will still help him. Also, providing support to heal his liver will help his eyes, according to Traditional Chinese medicine. Give him 100-150 mg of MILK THISTLE (open the capsule and sprinkle it into his food), two times daily.

2. NO DRY DOG FOOD! His skin, his eyes, his liver and other organs, need moisture to help heal. Check our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options and consider adding in some raw meat to his canned food. NO RAW PORK OR RAW FISH. You can start by feeding him the 'canned' version of whatever dry food you have him on now. If he is already on canned food, then adding in some steamed carrots, or give him some raw carrots to eat, steamed green beans, or other green vegetable would be good. Then adding in about 1-2 tsp of ground raw chicken, turkey or beef to each meal.

3. Boosting his immune system by adding in OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder to each meal provides an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and a huge boost of buffered Vitamin C. As a Jack Russell, he would only need about 1/10 tsp in each meal. Mega C is available online. (Buy the smaller 226 gm container.)

To be continued in Part 2-Eye Problem in Jack Russell Terrier

Apr 17, 2011
Part 2-My Online Vet Response for Eye Problem in Jack Russell Terrier
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Marilyn,
Here's the continuation:

4. NO MORE VACCINATIONS. His immune system has been compromised and suppressed by the years of cortisone. I am not sure he would even respond to a vaccination at this point. You can have a blood test done to measure his antibody titer to distemper, rabies, parvo virus, etc. and see if he already has enough protection. In which case, he would NOT need any more vaccinations. If the titer level is low, I would seek the help of a holistic veterinarian to write an exemption form to 'excuse' him from any more vaccines.

Read Dr Richard Pitcairn's book, Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, "Harmful Effects of Vaccination". He quotes a human homeopath, George Vithoulkas, "The experience of astute homeopathic observers has shown conclusively that in a high percentage of cases, vaccination has a profoundly disturbing effect on the health of an individual, particularly in relation to chronic disease."

In the text, Current Veterinary Therapy XI which came out in 1992(!), there is a section on Annual Vaccinations, by Dr. Ronald Schultz, stating that annual vaccinations are obsolete, and the duration of immunity after only one or two vaccinations will last the life of the dog or cat.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Good Luck with Buster!

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Apr 17, 2011
Thank you . . .
by: Marilyn

Thank you for the information and advice regarding Buster's eye problem.

I have also discussed with our vet trying Atopica again for his allergies. We tried a few years ago and it helped some but it didn't seem to help enough to warrant the costly prescription.

Do you think that is worth a second try?

Apr 18, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Eye Problem in Jack Russell Terrier
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Marilyn,
No, I do not think you should give Atopica again. Atopica is derived from cyclosporine, the same drug used to suppress the body's immune system after an organ transplant. It would be best to find a holistic veterinarian for alternative treatment for Buster's allergies.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Eye Problems,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Eye Problems Section

Mar 25, 2012
my dog fudge
by: Anonymous

hes got red inferlermation around his left eye ?bathed it with water but not rectefired anything would eye drops help.thankyou.


Mar 26, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Eye problem in Jack Russell Terrier
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Anonymous,
For Fudge:
Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman
PS-If the eye is getting worse, please take him to see your local veterinarian!

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