Eye problems in dogs

All breeds of dogs, and at any age, can be affected with many types of eyes problems, each with differing forms of severity. The common eye problems which are known to be able to affect dogs include cataracts, corneal ulcers, cherry eye and conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is arguably the most common problem found to occur in dogs. As with most diseases, certain dog breeds are more prone to different eye conditions than others.

The symptoms of an eye condition can generally include the affected dog squinting and avoiding any bright light. The dog may release its tears in excess and in some cases, some mucous or serous discharge. Inflammation and sometimes cloudiness may also be signs of an eye problem. The eye may be pink, red, or sore. In order to relive itself of the discomfort, the affected dog may rub the eye with a paw or against the ground or carpet.

Canine Cataracts in Dogs

There are a large number of causal factors which are responsible for cataracts in dogs. These include genetics that is to say it is inherited, age, certain diseases, following trauma or inflammation. Symptoms include a whitening of the lens, which is a clear part of the eye needed for focussing, and the problem impairs sight and may even lead to blindness.  The whitening or cloudiness is opaque and thus cannot be seen through.

 Inherited cataracts can occur at any age in the affected dog. Diabetic dogs are extremely prone to cataracts and so a correct balance of diet and exercise can help to reduce diabetes and thus cataracts.  Surgery can remove cataracts but is not always considered to be the best option, both economically and practically.

Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Corneal ulcers occur as a result of the corneal epithelium being scratched or damaged. Symptoms include the affected eye being partially closed due to the intense discomfort it can cause. The dog may attempt to relieve the pain by rubbing its eye with its paws or even the ground. In addition to this, the dog may avoid bright lights as this can be very painful for the affected animal. Identification includes the use of a fluorescent green dye and ultra violet light.

Bacteria can sometimes be the cause of a corneal ulcer of the affected dog. The animal’s vision can be slightly impaired by this painful eye condition. Older dogs tend to heal more slowly following a corneal ulcer. In the majority of cases, it has been noted that if corneal ulcers are left untreated in dogs, then the eye may unfortunately become damaged beyond repair. In other words, the ulcer will be irreversible.  The treatments of ulcers of the cornea include eye drops or ointments which have antibiotic properties. The dog must be prevented from further rubbing its eye. 

Dogs with Ingrown Eyelids and Eyelashes

The symptoms of this inherited disease include excess discharge from the eyes, watery eyes, redness, inflammation and soreness. The rim of the eyelid cannot be seen and often this is also true of the eyelashes. The eyelashes rub against the eyeball and ulcers can occur as a result of the irritation. Veterinary treatment is considered simple and will involve effective surgery. Ideally the affected dog should be bred from in order to not pass n the defect to future generations.  Dogs left untreated may even lose their vision in the affected eye or eyes

Canine Cherry Eye in Dogs

This is the condition in dogs in which there has been a prolapse of a gland of the third eyelid. It is also known as the canine nictitans gland. Cherry eye is more commonly seen in younger dogs between the ages of six weeks and two years old. However, it can occur at any age. The dog breeds more at risk of this condition are the basset hound, beagle, bulldog, Chihuahua, and the cocker spaniel.

A veterinary diagnosis of this problem simply involves taking note of the clinical signs and symptoms presented. These signs and symptoms include inflammation and the visibility of this third eyelid. The prolapsed eyelid is seen from the inner corner of the affected dog’s eye. Often a pussy discharge is released as a result of the irritation caused. Specialist surgery is often a necessity in which the affected gland is re-positioned.

Canine Conjunctivitis in Dogs

The other name for conjunctivitis in dogs is “pink eye” or “red eye” and is common problem. This occurs when the conjunctiva membrane becomes inflamed. Conjunctivitis in dogs can occur as a result of an allergy, that is to say an immune response to certain allergens such as pollen. Additionally, harmful pathogens including bacteria, viruses and fungi may all be responsible for conjunctivitis of the eye.  If caused by an infectious pathogen, then this may be contagious and passed on to other animals the dog may come into contact with.

There will be redness around the eyes or occasionally more of a pinkish tinge. The resultant discharge produced can include a more watery and serous form to a pussy, mucous form. The veterinarian should give treatments in order to flush the eye and in some cases antibiotics are required. The discharge around the eye should be wiped off with a warm damp cloth and then wiped dry.

Canine Glaucoma in Dogs

Glaucoma in dogs is known to lead to a very high risk of blindness. The cause of glaucoma is a reduction in fluid released from the dog’s eye. This fluid is used to retain the eye’s shape and is known as aqueous humor. Therefore, there is a resultant pressure in the eye which is higher than normal.

Thus, damage occurs within the affected eye. There is no cure against glaucoma although medication can be given in order to control it. In some cases, surgery may be deemed necessary. Primary glaucoma is hereditary, and secondary glaucoma can be caused by trauma, damage or displacement of certain parts of the eye, and cancers.


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