Our South Florida veterinarians see a variety of eye diseases, infections and conditions in dogs. Today, we discuss some of the most common.
Your Dog's Eye Health
Your dog is a beloved family member and we know that your pup's health is a top priority for you, but many pet parents pay little attention to the health of their pet's eyes.
Nonetheless, it's important to remember that, like humans, dogs are susceptible to a wide range of eye diseases that can cause discomfort and even blindness if left untreated. This is why it is important to regularly check your dog's eyes for any signs of irritation, redness, or discharge and to take them to the vet if you notice any abnormalities.
With proper care, most dog eye diseases can be managed and treated successfully.
Symptoms of Eye Problems in Dogs
Before we list symptoms, it's important to note that all dogs can suffer from eye problems, not just old dogs. And while some breeds also may have a proclivity for eye problems, like boxers or Jack Russell Terriers, again, it can affect any breed.
With that said, here are some common symptoms of dog eye problems:
- Cloudy eyes
- Bumping into objects
- Anxiety or hesitation when in new places
- Unwilling to go up or down stairs, or jump onto furniture which they normally did
- Eyes are red, puffy, or swollen
- Obvious eye irritation or pawing at face
- Confusion, dazed, easily startled
Common Eye Problems in Dogs
Some of the most common eye problems in dogs are glaucoma, cherry eye, conjunctivitis, cataracts, entropion ectropion, epiphora, and tumors. Below, we'll give a quick summary of each.
Also known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye and lines the eyelids. The most common signs of conjunctivitis in dogs are redness, swelling, discharge, and itching. Treatment options include eye drops, ointments, and antibiotics.
Cataracts are cloudy areas that can develop in the lens of your dog's eye, leading to gradual vision loss. The most common cause of cataracts in dogs is genetics, but they can also be caused by injury, diabetes, or aging. Symptoms of cataracts include cloudy or hazy eyes, difficulty seeing in dim light, and a change in eye color. Treatment for cataracts involves surgery to remove the affected lens.
Glaucoma is a very painful condition that occurs when there is too much pressure within your dog's eye. Glaucoma can damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness. Symptoms of glaucoma in dogs include redness, pain, cloudy eyes, and a dilated pupil. Treatment options can include eye drops, surgery, and medication.
Cherry eye is a condition that occurs in dogs when the tear gland in the third eyelid pops out of place and becomes swollen. The most common sign of a cherry eye is a red, fleshy mass in the corner of your dog's eye. Surgery to reposition the gland is the usual treatment for cherry eye in dogs.
Entropion is a condition that occurs when your dog's eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye, often leading to irritation, infection, and scarring. If your dog is suffering from entropion symptoms may include squinting, discharge, and redness. Treatment for entropion involves surgery to correct the position of the eyelid.
Ectropion is a common eye condition in dogs that causes the lower eyelid to sag or turn outward. This exposes the inner eyelid, which can become irritated, inflamed, and prone to infection. Ectropion can affect one or both eyes and is more common in certain breeds, such as bloodhounds and St. Bernards.
Epiphora (eye discharge) is more considered a symptom rather than an eye disease. Epiphora in dogs is characterized by continuous tearing. The constant moisture can cause the eye area to swell and become infected. This is commonly considered to be an aesthetic problem, but can also be a sign of a foreign object stuck in a dog’s eye, which is why veterinary consultation is warranted.
Eye tumors in dogs can be benign or malignant growths that affect different parts of the eye, including the eyelids, conjunctiva, cornea, and iris. Some breeds, such as the Golden Retriever and the Boxer, are more susceptible to developing eye tumors. Symptoms of eye tumors in dogs may include redness, swelling, discharge, and changes in the shape or color of the eye.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.