Brachycephalic Ocular Syndrome

As we have discussed at greater length in previous posts, pugs belong to the brachycephalic breed of dogs. Almost completely lacking a muzzle, as a result of this genetic affliction, pugs’ eyes protrude from their face. While the look is one that historically made the pug breed appealing to owners, and has been subject of considerable public debate surrounding the viability of morally questionable pug crossbreeds resulting from recent fashion trends, protruding eyes can be a cause for considerable suffering to your beloved pug. The protrusion results from decreased depth in eye orbits, or the bony sockets which house the eye. Brachycephalic ocular syndrome refers to the disease that combines lesions of the eyelid, the conjunctiva lining the eyeballs and eyelids and the cornea, on the surface of the eye. This syndrome results in the pug dog’s eyes being abnormally protruded, its eyelids opening excessively widely in comparison to the size of its eyes and an inability to fully close the eyelids.

In extreme cases of brachycephalic ocular syndrome the dog may be so affected by its head shape that the eyelid or eyelid fur may directly rub the eye, the skin and fur around its nose may come into contact with the cornea and its eyelashes may even be positioned so that they directly contact and irritate the eye. Depending on severity these various issues can have various degrees of impact on your pug. A dog suffering with these symptoms may be observed to suffer regular inflammation of and redness in its conjunctiva, sensitivity to light, excessive tearing and tear staining on the face and, ultimately, damage to the cornea may render a dog partially or completely blind. Although blindness is not a necessary outcome and treatment options are available, brachycephalic ocular syndrome’s symptoms and treatment both entail considerable distress for your dog.