Dog Eye Problems
Our canine friends can experience dog eye problems, ranging from mild conditions that generally do not affect the quality of the dog's life, to severe conditions that are medical emergencies. Brachycephalic breeds - that's dogs with pushed-in or flat faces, like the Pekingese, Pug, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, or Boxer - tend to be prone to eye problems because their eyes are more prominent and protrude slightly.
Eye problems are not that unusual as common health concerns in dogs. Below is a brief summary of several eye conditions. However, do not attempt to diagnose your dog yourself - please bring him to the vet for consultation for proper diagnosis if you notice that your dog may be having issues with his eyes.
- Glaucoma is an increase in eye pressure,
and is a medical emergency because it can result in
blindness and the loss of the eye. Some symptoms can
include pain (the dog may rub his eye against objects,
or rub it with his paw); one eye may protrude more
than the other; dilated pupil (either the pupil reacts
very slowly to changes in light, or one pupil is
larger than the other); squinting or excessive
blinking; or a bad case of "bloodshot eyes".
Consult a vet immediately if you notice any of these warning signs. Do not wait even a day - go immediately! Your dog's vision depends on immediate action.
- Cherry eyes is a condition in which the
gland located in the dog's third eyelid (normally
not visible) falls out of its normal position and
swells. Cherry eyes are noticeable as a red swelling
in the corner of the eye. Consult with your vet to
see whether surgical correction is required.
- Inward-growing eyelashes is when small eyelashes grow on the very edge of the eyelids, irritating the cornea. You may notice your dog's eye become inflamed or even develop a discharge. Your dog may also rub or paw at it, or squint. This condition should be treated to prevent it from worsening and to improve the pet's quality of life. Untreated, it can lead to infections and possibly even blindness.
- Tear stains are very common and do not bother the dog. This cosmetic issue is characterized by brown stains on the fur underneath the corners of each eye. Regularly wipe this area clean to prevent it from getting matted or irritated.
- Cataracts are the "cloudiness"
inside your dog's eye, which results in reduced vision.
Cataracts can be inherited or they may develop over
a period of time. They can't be "cured", but
can be surgically removed.
On the other hand, Nuclear Sclerosis is an eye condition often mistaken for cataracts. Older dogs develop a hardening of the eye lens that results in a greyish-looking appearance. This does not affect the dog's vision.
Your vet may refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist in more severe cases that require a specialist's opinion. Don't be afraid to questions about treatments or surgeries. Dog eye problems may be minor or they may be serious, but catching them early gives the best opportunity to treat the issue for a positive outcome.