Dog Eye Problems
Types of Eye Problems in Dogs
Have you noticed that your canine companion is rubbing at their eyes a lot, or is having a hard time tracking down the ball playing fetch? Is there something that looks not quite right with their eyes? Dogs can suffer from many types of eye problems, but the good news is that many of them are straightforward to treat.
One common eye issue is pink eye, which is the same as the condition that humans can get. The veterinary term for this is conjunctivitis, and it’s a type of eye irritation or infection. It may occur when bacteria gets into the eye or the surrounding tissue, or may be set off by something physically present in or behind the eye.
Cherry eye occurs when a tear duct in the third eyelid has a genetic issue. It’s unable to stay in place properly, and protrudes from the eye. It’s bright red, which led to the name, and is uncomfortable for dogs to deal with.
Entropion is a disorder of the dog’s eyelids that makes them go inwards, rather than outwards. The hair that is on the eyelids scratches on the surface of the eye and can lead to damage or blindness over time.
Sometimes the dog’s tear ducts fail to work properly. When that happens, the eye ends up with a lot of debris on it, and becomes very dry. This is called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, and may lead to physical damage to the eye if not treated.
Dogs spend a lot of time investigating their environment and being social with other animals. In some cases, this can put them in situations where their eyes are physically damaged. The cornea is the part of the eye that is likely to bear the brunt of this.
Allergic reactions to particles in the air are another condition that will set off canine eye problems. They may have an issue with a fragrance used in the home, pollen in the air during spring and summer, cigarette smoke, or other common substances in the environment.
Glaucoma and cataracts can occur with older dogs and they get in the way of seeing properly. In some cases, these conditions can lead to blindness. Glaucoma is related to the fluid in the eyeball. If it builds up and isn’t drained, it puts pressure on it. Over time, this could result in complete blindness.
Some examples of common Eye Problems in Dogs include the following.
- Cherry Eye
- Corneal Ulcers
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Signs and Symptoms of Eye Problems in Dogs
If you suspect that your dog is experiencing eye problems, there are many signs that allow you to identify an issue.
Squinting is one of the most common. It might look like your dog is trying to wink at you at first, but they’re actually holding the eyelid fully or partially shut to try to deal with the discomfort they’re experiencing.
Visible eye damage may be present with some of the most serious eye conditions. When you look closely at the eye, you may see tears or holes in the cornea. If these get infected, it may have formed an ulcer or has a prominent vascular system developing in the area. Severe injuries may lead to a ruptured eye.
Eye discharge is another telltale sign that something is going on. The discharge may be clear, which means that the tear ducts are over producing liquid, possibly due to irritation or something caught in the eye. If it’s green or yellow, a bacterial infection may be behind this issue.
Behavior signals that your dog may have eye problems include pawing at the eye, trying to rub their face on scratchy or otherwise textured surfaces, and acting like they’re in pain. They may run into furniture, walls, doors, and other parts of the house that they navigated without a problem previously.
Inflammation can cause the eye or the surrounding tissue to look like they’re bulging out of the socket. The eyes may be red or bloodshot, depending on the cause of the issue.
When you look at your dog’s pupils, they may be complete dilated, or they may not react to changes in the light. This may indicate a serious problem with their eyesight that needs addressed immediately.
Cloudy eyes are a common sight as dogs get older and they develop cataracts. This sign is also common in dogs that are already blind.
Treatment Options for Eye Problems in Dogs
The treatment for eye problems in dogs depends on the condition that they’re suffering from. For pink eye, they may just need some antibiotic eye drops to clear everything up. Another simple treatment option comes from dogs that have an irritant stuck in their eyes. The veterinarian uses a sterile saline eye wash to flush the eye.
Anti-inflammatory medication and pain medication help manage the discomfort associated with a swollen eye. Many eye problems in dogs are painful to deal with, and the treatment may take a few weeks. It’s important to manage the pain levels to make the recovery process smoother.
If your dog is experiencing eye problems because of an allergic reaction, discovering the exact allergy is necessary. Dog allergy tests are available, and if the allergy is food related, there are a number of specialized diets designed to treat these concerns. For airborne irritants, an air purifier often helps reduce the particulate matter in the air for increased comfort.
Some eye conditions in dogs require surgery, such as cherry eye and entropion. The eye issues are surgically corrected so the dog doesn’t have to suffer from them moving forward.
Depending on the condition treatment ranges from eye drops to antibiotics to surgery.
Cost to Treat: Depending on the issue and severity cost to treat eye problems in dogs can range from $50 to $5,000 per eye if surgery is necessary.
A lot of things can happen with your dog’s eyes. Stay vigilant about looking out for the signs of eye issues so you can catch these problems early on.