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Pluto the King Charles Spaniel’s vision is treated at a West Midlands animal hospital.

The six-year-old was suffering from a serious eye condition when he arrived at Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in Solihull, where expert staff quickly identified the problem as a complicated corneal ulcer.
The normal therapy for this type of ulcer has always been intensive medical treatment or, in more severe cases, a surgical procedure known as corneal grafting.

However, Alberto Palella Gomez, an ECVO resident in veterinary ophthalmology at Willows, treated Pluto using the latest leading-edge Corneal Cross-Linking technology, which offers a quicker recovery with less scarring, helping to deliver a better outcome.

Alberto said: “Pluto was diagnosed with a complicated corneal ulcer, often caused by a severe bacterial infection.

“These ulcers can deepen quickly, potentially causing serious damage to sight and the eye itself, so intensive therapy is needed.

“At Willows, our Specialist Ophthalmology team is very proud to have a state-of-the-art, corneal cross-linking (CXL) machine which, when used in combination with medical treatment, allows the cornea (the clear ‘window’ at the front of the eye) to heal without the need for surgery.

“Pluto had a really positive response to this treatment, which meant he did not need to undergo surgery at all.

“Happily, he’s now back to his normal cheeky self and is enjoying life to the full.”

Alberto explained why this ground-breaking approach is so important and why Willows is so pleased to be able to offer it to patients and clients.

He added: “CXL is a real success story. It not only makes the cornea firmer and more resistant to bacteria but also has an antimicrobial effect, ‘killing’ these infectious bacteria.

“The process is very simple. The cornea is formed of collagen fibres and CXL aims to increase the number of ties between these fibres, improving the overall stability of the cornea.

“This is achieved by exposing the cornea to a specific form of ultraviolet (UV-A) light which encourages these ties to form.”

Alberto highlighted the symptoms for dog owners to look out for in their pets in a bid to ensure a swift diagnosis and treatment.

He said: “Pets affected with a corneal ulcer often experience pain and close their eye in a similar way to a person squinting.

“A dog’s eye may appear red or cloudy with some discharge and possible decreased vision.

“If your pet displays these symptoms you should go to your local vets for a full examination as soon as possible.”