Dogs can suffer from a number of eye problems ranging from mild to serious. If you have any doubts about your pet’s eyes, visit your veterinarian immediately.
Conjunctivitis IN dogs
Conjunctivitis is one of the more common eye problems suffered by dogs. It is caused by inflammation of the mucous membranes covering the dog’s eyelids. It is characterised by swelling and discharge. Sometimes the stickiness will prevent the dog from opening his eyes.
It is contagious and contact with infected dogs is the biggest risk factor. Some studies have shown that neutered or spayed dogs are less likely to become infected.
It can also be triggered by allergies and this form of conjunctivitis is more common in the spring.
It can be treated by bathing with warm sterile water. This will wash any irritants away from the eye. Your vet can check your dog’s eyes for any underlying cause.
Excessive tears can run down a dog’s face and create brownish stains. These are most noticeable on dogs with white fur and dog breeds with compressed faces.
Dogs have ducts in their eyes which normally drain away excess tears. When these are not functioning correctly the excess tears run down the dog’s face.
Dry eye is a condition where the dog’s tear glands produce less tears than normal. Tears lubricate the surface of the eye removing dust and other foreign particles. Insufficient tears to do this can result in irritation and even scratches on the surface. A common symptom of dry eye is the dog pawing his eyes.
You can relieve the situation by applying artificial tear solution but in more serious cases surgery may be required.
Dogs have a third eyelid. Normally, it is not visible. Cherry eye is a prolapse of this eyelid. It is caused by a weakening of the ligaments holding this eyelid in place. Commonly, itis a genetic condition. Breeds like bulldogs with brachycephalic faces are more prone be affected.
Owners notice a red swollen mass at the bottom of the eye. It will most often be noticed in dogs under 2 years old and puppies.
There is no treatment to prevent it and the only way it can be fixed is surgery.
The cornea is a clear tissue which covers the eye. In humans, corneal damage can be caused by leaving contact lenses in too long. In dogs it is most often caused by trauma. He could have been poked in the eye by a stick or he even have caused it himself with his paw.
If you suspect corneal damage take your dog to see the veterinarian. Antibiotic drops or ointment are the usual treatment for this condition. Excessive light can aggravate the condition and dogs should be kept in a dark place to assist the healing process.
Cataracts and Lenticular Sclerosis
Both these conditions cause the black centre of the eye to have a cloudy or milky appearance.
Lenticular sclerosis is a deterioration in the eyes of older dogs. It results from a thickening of the lens and no treatment is necessary.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. It is more common in older dogs but can occur at any age. Cataracts can be removed by surgery.
Normally, it would take an examination by a veterinarian to distinguish between cataracts and lenticular deterioration.
Dogs eyes are susceptible to several conditions and you should examine them regularly.