Dogs can develop a variety of eye diseases, infections, and other conditions. Today, our South Florida vets will share some facts about some of the most common dog eye problems.
Your Dog's Eye Health
Almost every doting dog owner considers their pooch's health a top priority. After all, even though they have four legs instead of two, that doesn't make them any less cherished or beloved! That said, eye care is one element of pet healthcare that doesn't usually get enough attention.
It's important to note that, similar to humans, dogs and cats are susceptible to a wide range of eye conditions and diseases that may cause discomfort, and eventually loss of sight or even blindness if left untreated. That's why it's important to have your dog's eyes checked regularly for any signs of discharge, irritation, or redness, and to schedule an appointment with a veterinary ophthalmologist if you notice any abnormalities.
Most dog eye diseases can be successfully managed with proper eye care. In this post, we'll discuss a few common cat and dog eye diseases and problems that are often diagnosed, along with the signs to watch for.
The lens in your dog's eye focuses light on the back of the eye or the retina. The retina allows your dog to see. The eye's structure is similar to a camera, which uses a lens to focus light on the film. A cataract is a cloudy or opaque lens.
Commonly caused by genetics, cataracts may also develop as a side effect or diabetes, aging, or injury to the eye. Cataracts can lead to gradual loss of vision. Symptoms of the condition include cloudy or hazy eyes, a change in eye color and difficulty seeing in dim light. Surgery is required to remove cataract from the affected lens in the eye.
Dogs have a third eyelid known as a nictitating membrane that protects the eye. This membrane contains the nictitans gland, which produces tears that lubricate the eye. Normally, the gland is not visible as it's located deep inside the eye and is surrounded by cartilage.
Cherry eye occurs when this gland thickens, slips out of place, then sticks out from the membrane, causing a swollen, red, or pink, fleshy lump or mass in the lower eyelid that looks like a cherry.
A veterinary ophthalmologist may perform surgery to reposition the gland.
Also referred to as pink eye, conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue covering the white part of the eye and lining the eyelids. The most common symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs include discharge, itching, redness, and swelling. Treatment options include antibiotics, eye drops, and ointments.
Glaucoma is a very painful condition that occurs when there is too much pressure in your dog's eye. Glaucoma can damage the eye's optic nerge and lead to blindness. Signs of glaucoma in dogs include cloudy eyes, redness, pain, and a dilated pupil. Treatment options may include medication, eye drops, and surgery.
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.
Consult your veterinary ophthalmologist for reliable information about dog eye diseases and treatment options. You can also use your favorite search engine to search for pictures of common eye problems in canines.
Veterinary Ophthalmology Services in South Florida
Our board-certified ophthalmologist specializes in treating eye diseases and disorders in dogs and cats. We work closely with your pet’s primary care veterinarian to provide the best possible care for all ocular diseases that may be affecting your pet.
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.