Common Eye Problems in Dogs
Your dog’s vision is essential for overall quality of life. Unfortunately, a number of issues can affect the function and health of your pet’s eyes, including allergies, irritation, infection, and injury. While some dog eye problems are minor and resolve with appropriate treatment, other issues can be serious and lead to further problems.
To make things even trickier, many eye problems in dogs result in similar symptoms, which can make it difficult to differentiate one issue from another. That’s why Thomas Labs® is here to help. Here are a few common eye problems in dogs!
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Conjunctivitis, also known as Pink Eye, is inflammation of the moist tissues in the front part of the eye. Conjunctivitis in dogs can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, allergic reactions, and foreign particles like dust or dirt. Symptoms can include eye discharge, swelling, discomfort, and redness.
Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause. Minor cases caused by an irritant can usually be treated with a sterile saline eye wash that will help flush irritants from the eye. If there’s a bacterial infection present, your vet will prescribe an antibiotic eye drop or ointment to help fight the infection.
Glaucoma is a sustained increase in fluid pressure within the eye. Normal eyes are constantly producing and draining fluid. Sometimes there are issues with the drainage of this fluid, which causes eye pressure to increase, resulting in glaucoma. Symptoms can include redness, squinting, eye pain, eye enlargement, dilated pupils, eye cloudiness, and watery eyes.
According to PetMD, treatment may involve a combination of topical and oral medications that help reduce inflammation, absorb fluid from the eye, promote drainage of fluid from the eye, and lower fluid production within the eye. Surgery may also be an option. In severe cases, glaucoma in dogs can result in blindness, so getting immediate treatment is important.
Cataracts block light from reaching the back of the eye, which can result in poor vision and blindness. They appear as a clouding of the eye lens and can give the pupils a white or milky appearance. Cataracts are a common problem in aging dogs.
Cataracts are often confused with a condition called lenticular sclerosis, which is a normal change in the lens associated with aging. Both of these conditions can cause cloudiness and discoloration on the pupil. If your dog has cloudy eyes, make an appointment with your veterinarian who can determine if your dog has cataracts or lenticular sclerosis.
There isn’t a medical treatment to reverse the effects of cataracts. However, any underlying issues should be treated, and sometimes cataract surgery is an option.
The cornea is the transparent, outermost layer forming the front of the eye. It allows light to enter the eye and plays an important role in focusing vision. Similar to skin, the cornea can be damaged or injured. Corneal damage can include punctures, ulcers, scratches, and cuts.
The causes of corneal damage include trauma or injury, inadequate tear production, and anatomical eye abnormalities. Symptoms of corneal damage include squinting, redness, discharge, rubbing of the eye, and eye pain.
Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the damage, but most of the time, it involves giving the cornea time to heal. Your vet may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment to prevent or treat infection, as well as medication to help manage the pain. In severe cases, dogs may need surgery to promote healing and repair the cornea.
Dry Eye or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS)
Your dog’s tears perform a variety of important functions, including nourishing the corneal tissues and lubricating the surface of the eye to remove damaging material. Dry eye, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, occurs when a dog’s tear glands produce fewer tears than normal. This can lead to other problems, including corneal ulcers and scratches.
Symptoms of dry eye can include red eyes, excessive blinking, squinting, and pawing at the eyes. Minor cases of dry eye can be alleviated with regular use of artificial tears. More severe cases usually require a medication that stimulates tear production, such as cyclosporine. Surgery may be an option in severe cases.
If you didn’t already know, dogs actually have three eyelids. The third eyelid, which has a tear-producing gland, is normally hidden below the inner corner of the eye. Sometimes, dogs experience weakness of the ligaments that hold this gland into place. This causes the gland to pop out, giving it the appearance of a red cherry poking out from the corner of your dog’s eyes. Cherry eye is often genetic and requires surgery.
Promote Healthy Eyes in Your Dog
We understand the importance of your dog’s eye health. That’s why we developed Eye Remedy, an herbal supplement that promotes healthy eyes in dogs. Eye Remedy contains a variety of herbs, including Bilberry and Ginkgo, to help nourish the eye by supporting healthy blood flow.
This supplement also contains Oregon Grape Root and Echinacea to balance the immune system and promote the body’s normal defense against pathogens. Astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, supports the eye and helps remove damaging free radicals, while Eyebright helps ease occasional eye discomfort and decrease excessive tearing.
Diagnosing and Detecting Dog Eye Problems Early
Taking steps to maintain and protect your dog’s eyes is important. Thomas Labs understands that it can be difficult to know whether your dog’s eye problems are minor or serious. Routine checkups and examinations can help detect eye disorders and issues early before they become a bigger problem!
The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.