This week we tell the story of Humphrey the 8year old Golden Retriever. Humphrey’s owner brought him into WellPet after they had noticed his left eye looked strange. Dr Amelia examined Humphrey. She checked both of Humphrey’s eyes. His left eye was squinty and looked almost sunken compared to his right eye. His third eyelid on the left was also protruding and appeared unable to contract. Humphrey’s left eye indicated that he had a condition called Horner’s Syndrome.

What is Horner’s Syndrome?

Horner’s syndrome consists of five signs:

  • Constricted pupil
  • Elevated third eyelid
  • Retraction of the eyeball into the head
  • Slight drooping of the eyelid
  • Increased pink color and warmth of the ear and nose on the affected side (very hard to detect in small animals)

All these signs are caused by damage to sympathetic nervous system as it supplies the eye on the affected side of the head. There is no specific treatment for this syndrome itself. However if the underlying cause can be identified then this should be treated. It is documented that Golden Retrievers are one of the breeds along side collies that appear to be pre-disposed to the syndrome.

Causes of this syndrome include: Trauma to the neck, lesions in the neck, middle ear disease, disease of the spine, brainstem diseases, diabetes and the most common cause, which occurs in 50% of cases is idiopathic, with no identifiable cause.

Dr Amelia began to look for the cause of Humphrey’s syndrome. She performed an otoscopic exam to check Humphrey’s ears and found vegetable matter in the horizontal canal of his left ear. Humphrey was admitted into hospital to remove the debris from his ear and investigate if this was the cause for his Horner’s syndrome.  Humphrey underwent an anaesthetic sedation and his ears were cleaned. Grass like substance was removed from his ear and his ear was cleaned. It is unclear if the condition of his ear in fact caused this syndrome for Humphrey. Humphrey also had x-rays taken of his chest do rule out any masses that may also be causing his syndrome. His x-rays were clear of masses.

Humphrey’s condition is most likely that of an idiopathic nature and it is expected that it may resolve over time. Humphrey was discharged with antibiotics for his ear and also anti-inflammatory pain relief to ensure he is kept comfortable. He is doing well at home and so far his Horner’s syndrome has not progressed. We will be seeing Humphrey regularly for check ups and we wish him a speedy recovery!

 

 

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