Canine ocular and periocular snakebites requiring enucleation: A report of 19 cases. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: To describe the clinical and histopathologic features secondary to ocular and periocular snakebites in dogs requiring enucleation. METHODS: Retrospective review of patients with recorded snakebite envenomation from the archives of the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin (COPLOW) and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (1997-2017). The cases included in this study required witnessed snakebites to the dog by the owner, clinical signs supportive of periocular or ocular envenomation, and/or histopathologic lesions compatible with snakebites. Two groups were established: ocular bites (OB) and periocular bites (PB). RESULTS: Nineteen cases were included in the study (OB=16/19; PB=3/19). Dogs affected were typically older (median 8years; range 1-18), and both sexes were equally represented. Left eyes (14/19) were more likely to sustain snake-induced trauma compared to right eyes (5/19). Fifteen breeds were identified, with terriers (9/19) commonly represented. Snakes bites occurred in six US states, with the majority of cases from Texas (7/19), California (5/19), and Arizona (4/19). Common clinical signs included facial edema, corneal ulceration, keratomalacia, uveitis, hyphema, and secondary glaucoma. All eyes demonstrated vision loss prior to enucleation. Histologically, the ocular and periocular tissues contained extensive necrosis associated with envenomation. Retinal detachment, lens capsule rupture, and intraocular hemorrhage/inflammation were commonly found. CONCLUSIONS: Snakebite envenomation is a largely necrotizing disease process that can result in profound infiltrative and destructive ocular changes presumed to be related to the proteolytic factors and necrotoxins in venom. Ocular alterations secondary to snakebites may be irreversible regardless of supportive therapy instituted.

published proceedings

  • Vet Ophthalmol

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Scott, E. M., Schlesener, B. N., Shaw, G. C., & Teixeira, L.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Scott, Erin M||Schlesener, Brittany N||Shaw, Gillian C||Teixeira, Leandro BC

publication date

  • September 2019