Tag Archives: eye problem in dogs

Living in the cone of shame

It’s all fun and games until someone winds up in the Cone of Shame.

This time, it’s Torque, with a stubborn eye ulcer. It started last month, and seemed to be healing okay. A little slow, but nothing to worry about. Until, somehow, the boy reinjured it. Our first clue was when he went to rub his face on his blanket and squealed in pain. And your stomach just sinks at the sound of it.

Life’s not easy – especially in a Cone

These days, nothing is easy – for anybody. With the possible exception of our cousin the lawyer who’s spending his shut-down in his Malibu beach house. No, we’re not bitter at all. He’s a wonderful man and we love him dearly, but we do turn off his video on the Zoom calls. 

Anyway, getting back to the point, we always look forward to Spring because winter in the Chicago area is a pain; extra layers, boots, extra time, scraping ice off cars, extra slippery, etc. So the change of seasons means life gets a little easier. Except when you’re in shut down mode and have to take your dog to the veterinarian every four days so she can check on his eye ulcer.

Our vet is a very old-fashioned general practitioner. No appointments, no vet techs. You used to come, sign in, and wait. Nowadays, you come, call to let them know you’re in the parking lot. And wait. We’ve been doing a lot of waiting lately.

Hard to navigate

I (Hope) freely admit that I was a bit cavalier about putting Torque in a Cone of Shame at first. He never wore one after his neuter surgery – he’s a French Bulldog and isn’t flexible enough to reach his “bits.” And he’s generally very good about “leave it!” whether it’s something disgusting in the yard or licking his paws.

When he reinjured his eye, Torque went into lockdown, too. Not a minute without the Cone of Shame unless we were brushing or grooming him. 

The only problem was – we didn’t have one big enough to fit a Frenchie. Our other dogs, Boston Terriers and Brussels Griffons, have all had about a 12” inch neck, or close enough that our array of cones were all about that size. 

Big boy

Torque, however, has a 16 inch neck. Big dog neck, little dog height. And the big dog Cones of Shame are several inches longer. Which means that Torque couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink, and actually couldn’t fit through most of the doorways in the house with the big boy cone on. 

French Bulldog in a cone of shame

So our solution was to jury-rig a smaller cone. It keeps his eye protected, lets him get a drink, and even lets him chew on a bone. And he fits through doorways. 

With the proper-fitting cone on, Torque didn’t really move much. It’s as if putting it on him caused instant paralysis. With the jury-rigged version, he moves just fine. And delights in bashing it into our legs if we’re slow to get out of our little bull-dozer’s way. 


We’re hoping we get good reports from the veterinarians this week. There are two in the practice, and, like everywhere, business has been slow. So they both come to see Torque and seem to take great joy in regaling us with horror stories about bug-eyed dogs (like French Bulldogs) whose eyes have popped out and other grisly details. They seem to find it fascinating and intriguing. It makes us a little woozy. 

So, between one thing and everything, this Spring hasn’t been one bit easier than Winter. Except we refused to wear boots when it snowed two inches in the last week. 

Notice your dogs – everything about them

Once every week Fran and I gather our four dogs and commit “ablutions” on them.

Whether they like it or not, the get mani/pedis, teeth brushed, faces washed, ears cleaned, etc. This is in addition to a few times a week brushing.

It’s a pain in schedule trying to find time for it every week. And until they’re used to the routine, it’s incredibly time consuming when they’re puppies. Torque was a screamer for ears. Booker has incredible “twitch” muscles when we’re doing his nails. I’ve dremeled my thumb instead of his claws on more than one occasion.

But when you take responsibility for an animal, you do it all the way. You make sure they’re fed, warm, clean, and healthy. And this week we’re especially glad we take the time and effort to take a really good look at each of the boys.

Tango is a scruffy-looking nerf herder at the best of times. When he’s between groomings, it can be hard to see his eyes. But, like lots of fuzzy dogs, he reduces down to otter-like when he’s wet. And this week we noticed an opaque, reddish spot on his eye. We knew immediately that it

The red spot on Tango's eye.

The red spot on Tango’s eye.

required a trip to the vet the next day.

Fortunately, at the moment, the vet thinks it’s a result of dry eye, possibly from allergies. It doesn’t seem to be an injury and we’re treating it with medication for the next week to see how it goes. He may need to be on eye drops/ointment the rest of his life.

And that’s really good news. Because whatever the spot is, we saw it early in its development. And at least now, we’ve avoided surgery. But the point is, Tango never bothered his eye, never rubbed his face, never got watery eyes, never seemed to squint or blink excessively. We noticed it because we make it a point to notice our dogs at least once a week. Tip of the nose to tip of their tails – we take notice.