Murphy’s looking good after Eastcott eye surgery

Life’s looking good again for an ageing sprocker spaniel whose sight was blighted by swollen and ulcerated eyes and degenerating corneas.

The 13-year-old family pet called Murphy, underwent corrective surgery on both eyes, and can now focus clearly on enjoying a bright future with his family.

After initial consultation and diagnosis, the our expert Ophthalmology team carried out a keratectomy and “Gunderson graft” operation to help stabilise the dog’s corneal endothelial dystrophy in both eyes.

The procedure was led by head of ophthalmology and advanced practitioner Ida Gilbert, who explained: “Murphy was referred to us with a history of recurrent and chronic ulceration in both eyes.

“He had blepharospasm in both eyes, mild corneal oedema in the left eye and moderate oedema and haze in the right eye.

“A full ophthalmic examination revealed that he suffered from corneal endothelial dystrophy (similar to Fuchs endothelial dystrophy in people) with secondary bullous keratopathy and multiple ulcers in both eyes, which were causing him a lot of pain.

Murphy’s right eye, showing epiphora, conjunctival hyperaemia, corneal oedema, fibrosis, pigment and blisters

Murphy’s right eye after fluorescein staining, showing secondary chronic ulceration as well as conjunctival erythema and epiphora with a mucoid to watery discharge

A photograph taken under cobalt blue light, showing diffuse fluorescein staining where there is ulceration of Murphy’s right eye

Murphy’s left eye showing mild corneal oedema. It had three active blisters/ulcers

Left eye after Gunderson graft, showing improved clarity medially and useful vision through the graft.
Right eye after Gunderson procedure, showing some remaining fibrosis centrally, but overall good clarity and reduced corneal oedema.

“Endothelial dystrophy is a progressive, spontaneous problem which is mostly seen in elderly dogs, but with certain breeds predisposed, such as Boston terriers, Springer spaniels, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds and Dalmatians.

“There is no cure but dogs do very well with surgery, which often seems to slow down the disease progression in the rest of the cornea.

“The Gunderson graft is our favoured procedure as it removes the superficial waterlogged and often scarred cornea, then replaces it with a thin conjunctival graft, which is normally very well accepted and allows useful vision in most cases and reduced risk of painful ulcers.

“Murphy certainly responded very well with a resolution of his ocular discomfort, the retention of good vision overall and he’s not had any further ulcers since his surgery. We’re all extremely pleased with him.”

Murphy’s delighted owner Clare Dodwell, from Fairford in Gloucestershire, was full of praise for the ophthalmic experts at Eastcott and said they had given her pet a new lease of life.

Clare said: “Murphy’s eyes were in a poor state, as both were very red and blistered and the vets said he was in immense pain.

“He’s an older dog and we did not want him to suffer so we had to decide whether to put him to sleep or to risk the operations.

“I was absolutely bowled over by how amazing the staff at were, especially operating in the midst of this Covid pandemic.

“I can’t praise everyone enough. They have a great team at Eastcott and Ida was quite extraordinary.”