Dog Eye Problems

Copyright© Joel Mills
Dog eye problems include corneal ulcers. This image shows a large corneal ulcer in a Cocker Spaniel, which has been stained with a green dye so it is easily seen.

All dog eye problems should receive immediate attention. Left unattended, they can evolve into more serious issues and may ultimately result in loss of sight. The most common eye problems include:

  • Blindness in Dogs: SARDS, or Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome, is a condition where a dog goes blind without advance warning.
  • Canine cataracts: A cataract is opaque, meaning light cannot pass through it. A dog with a cataract is not able to see through the cataract. If the entire lens is involved, the eye will be blind.
  • Nuclear sclerosis: This occurs as a dog ages. The eye looks cloudy but the dog can still see through the milky lens.
  • Canine entropion (ingrowing eyelids): This is a condition where the eyelid turns inward and the eyelashes rub against the eye and irritate it. It is at the very least annoying to the dog, and at most, very painful. This dog eye health issue can be corrected with surgery.
  • Cherry eye: This condition occurs when the tear gland of the third eye prolapses or moves out of place. Surgery is needed to remedy the problem.
  • Dog eye infection: This may occur as part of a bacterial or viral infection. It may also occur when the outer part of the eye, called the cornea, is scratched.
  • Canine corneal ulcers: These are often caused by injuries to the cornea such as a cat scratch or dirt or other debris rubbing against the cornea. This condition is serious and should be under the care of a veterinarian.
  • Dog eye injuries: Injuries may be caused by scratching the cornea, bumping the eye or when a foreign object (dirt, sand, wood splinters)enters the eye.

Signs that your dog may have one of these eye health issues include blinking, tearing, redness, swelling around the eye and pus in the eye.

As is the case with all dog health issues, it's important to "know your dog." You live with your dog and you should be aware of any differences in his behavior or in signs that may indicate illness. In addition to the above, it is also important to note if your dog is acting differently—for instance, he's depressed and won't leave his bed—there could be any number of health issues behind his uncharacteristic actions, including dog eye problems.

Please keep in mind, the information on this web site is for educational purposes. It is always essential to contact your veterinarian if your canine friend "is not himself."

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