A Clinical Case from the Archives : 29/09/2005

This 18 month old Golden Retriever presents with these startled-looking eyes. What is going on here? How would you treat it?

The two key things here are first that while the eyes are exophthalmic to some degree, there is no protrusion of the third eyelid, unlike this dog with a retrobulbar sarcoma where the nictitating membrane is all too obviously protruding. The lack of protrusion in the first case means that whatever is pushing the eye forward must be within the muscle cone of the extraocular muscles. The second is that the dog is a young Golden Retriever and I guess there is a third – the condition is bilateral. The dog is fully sighted and not in any pain. This is extraocular myositis, a condition particularly seen in this breed, though who knows why! There isn’t much in the literature about the condition and what is there is tucked away in unlikely places – like the excellent case study ‘Canine bilateral extraocular polymyositis’ hidden in Veterinary Pathology in 1989 (26:510-12). Anti-inflammatory doses of oral steroid resolve the problem but recurrence is all too common in my book.


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