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  • Clinical Case: Eye Enucleation

    Posted on by Abii Dowdy

    We were recently involved in a case that required the eye to be removed from a cow. The farmer had noticed a slow growing tumour developing at the corner of the eye over a period of weeks. We took the decision that it was suitable to be surgically removed. A tumour in this position, if left, can encourage flies which, increase the risk of a secondary bacterial infection, bleeding and ulceration. Leaving cancerous tumours to grow, can allow other tumours to develop elsewhere, risking the health of the cow. Due to the location and attachments to local eye structures it would involve taking the tumour along with the eye ball.

    The cow was sedated and her head positioned for surgery. Local anaesthetic was placed around the eye and sutured closed for the operation. The surgery involved breaking down the attachments surrounding the eye and cutting the optic nerve at the back of the eye. The allows the eye ball to be removed as a whole including the tumour. Once all bleeding vessels are controlled, the skin surrounding the eye socket can then be closed.

    Cows can manage extremely well with only one eye and rarely lose their position within the herd. Tumours of the eye can be quite common, especially in Hereford cattle, however it can also occur in Simmental and Holstein-Friesians breeds. Tumours can occur due to increased hereditary risk, sunlight, nutrition, eyelid pigmentation and occasionally involved a viral component.