Q. I have a 4-year-old miniature dachshund that is very sick. It started about a year ago with a film covering his eyes. It looks like a layer of skin, but it's not. I took him to a veterinary eye specialist, and he said that Max has ulcers in his eyes, so he gave me some drops for his eyes. Two drops in both eyes three times a day, which helps him a little. Then his eyes get worse again. Max acts like his eyes hurt him. He is not blind yet, and I certainly don't want that to happen to him. Is there anything I can do for him besides using the drops? The whites of his eyes are also very red and look sore. Please let me know if there is any treatment or surgery that I can get for Max to help him.
Jennie Tenorio, La Mirada
A. Apparently Max has a very serious, chronic eye infection that may have caused him to develop ulcers on his corneas or front surface of the eyes. The cause may be very difficult to discover since this has been going on for more than a year. I strongly recommend that you immediately have Max rechecked by the eye specialist who originally examined him or another ophthalmologist. Max may need a variety of tests. And, if the ulcers are large and deep, he may require surgery.
It may take many weeks of daily medication before Max's eyes are healed as well as several recheck examinations. The success of treatment depends on the extent of damage to his eyes and how soon treatment begins, so don't delay.
Q. Last April, my 3-year-old female Bichon Frise developed bladder stones. X-rays showed that treatment cured her, but she is still having a problem. She just finished the third section of antibiotics. I asked about her diet, and the vet said that wasn't the cause. Her bladder is very weak. Any running causes a problem. Does this breed of dog have that problem?
Mary I. Klein, Huntington Beach
A. Bladder stones in such a young dog could indicate a chronic urinary infection as well as a potential problem with diet. You mentioned that she was cured based on radiographs but you didn't indicate the type of treatment, such as surgery, or how long ago the X-rays were taken. It may be possible that she has a recurrent stone forming or a persistent urinary infection that may require a culture of the urine as well as a complete urinalysis. In most cases, dogs are put on a prescription diet that is specially formulated to prevent stones from forming by reducing mineral content and keeping the urine pH acid. Chronic or severe urinary infections can cause the bladder wall to thicken and become less elastic, so that the dog may have to urinate more frequently or even have less control of bladder. A special concern is to possible nerve injury to the bladder.
I recommend having your pet reexamined and get a complete urinalysis. If you still have the stones available, a stone analysis may be of some benefit in helping treat your pet. You may need a culture and sensitivity done on the urine to help choose the correct antibiotic. Urinary infections may take many weeks to clear and you must always be alert for possible recurrence.