Today’s story is quite interesting and involves a bug, a pug and Dr. Galle’s treatment.
It seems that this little Louisiana pug, Balboa, was nosing around in some leaves when he came across a Southern Walking Stick, Anisomorpha buprestoides. Legend contends that these insects can shoot a blinding venom into the eyes of a victim. This little pug found out that legend is all too true.
The poison has the ability to begin what ophthalmologists call a “melting ulcer.” The “melting” process is initiated by the poison’s makeup including proteases and collagenases. These are enzymes which aid in the digestion of the structure of the cornea. Certain infectious agents also produce such enzymes.
“The walking stick’s spray has a high pH, or low acidity. Caustic, or alkaline injuries tend to cause more problems than acidic injuries. There is more ‘recruitment’ of white blood cells with caustic injuries” said Dr. Galle.
Balboa’s owners, Eyad and Shareen Bahhur, did the right thing by immediately rinsing Balboa’s eyes with an eye rinse. Still, his ongoing squinting concerned them.
“Copious volumes of eye rinse are needed initially,” the specialist related. “Maximum rinsing reduces the amount of offending agent left to do damage.”
So Balboa went to see his regular veterinarian right away, but the doctor had no experience with this type of injury. Rather than risk valuable time that could lead to permanent blindness, he referred the owners to Dr. Galle.
The pug’s treatment required several visits and long drives from Metairie, Louisiana, a New Orleans suburb. With his specialized training, knowledge and treatment, Dr. Galle was able to bring Balboa to a full recovery.
Another interesting aspect of this case is Dr. Galle’s relationship with the Southern Walking Stick. “I played with them all of the time when I was a kid growing up in Biloxi.”
It’s a wonder Dr. Galle didn’t require the services of an ophthalmologist himself!
See you Monday, Dr. Randolph.