When staying on top of the health of your whole family, your pet should also be included. There are many health risks that could affect your pup, including issues to vision. For this National Dog Day, we’ve compiled a list of the most common eye complications and treatments that can impact your pet. If you think there is cause for concern, be sure to reach out to your veterinarian.
Because our furry friends are unable to voice their precise discomforts when they’re ill, pet owners need to be mindful and watch for symptoms of discomfort around the eye. Symptoms such as avoiding light, bulging or closed eyes, cloudiness in the eye, discharge and excessive tearing, or redness are all key signs that pet owners should look for. Most commonly, if a dog or cat is continuously rubbing their eye or face on the ground, a closer look is needed.
Much like humans, animal cataracts cause the clear lens behind the pupil to become cloudy or white. It causes their vision to worsen over time, eventually to the point of blindness. While cataracts are often caused by genetics, they can sometimes be a result of injury or from chronic disease and immune problems. For non-injury related cataracts, removing the lens surgically can help, but the eye will never return to its original state.
Corneal ulcers are complex dog and cat eye injuries that are usually caused by a scratch from a foreign object. The injury may be difficult to see; a special light is required for diagnosis. Signs that your pet may suffer from this problem is when they produce a lot of tears or keep their eye partially closed. If you can see an object stuck in the eye, blood or obvious debris, your dog or cat will require treatment and anesthesia from a veterinarian.
When the area around your pet’s eye or the eye itself becomes inflamed, it can be a sign of infection. An inflamed eye can often indicate a case of conjunctivitis, which is when the mucus membranes of the eye become inflamed and itchy. Allergies, scratched corneas, or foreign dirt or objects in the eye can also cause inflammation, but seek veterinarian advise to be sure. Like humans, inflammation is a sign of glaucoma, a serious eye condition caused by increased pressure in the eye. Treatment methods include cleaning it thoroughly and using special dog or cat eye drops.
A hereditary problem, also known as Entropion, is when ingrown eyelids can result in continuous inflammation of the eye. In this case, the eyelid turns inward and presses the eyelashes against the eye. Inadvertent rubbing can create ulcers. To check if this is the issue, gently pull the lids away from the eye and let them fall back. If the lids continuously flip back in on themselves, this indicates a problem. Just like when humans have the condition, surgery is the recommended treatment.
Both dogs and cats have third eyelids to protect their corneas. The gland of the third eyelid also produces tears to lubricate the cornea. If the gland becomes swollen, it will bulge up and over the top margin of the third eyelid. When exposed, it becomes irritated and produces thick yellow mucus. Check with your veterinarian to confirm the problem. Surgery can remove this gland, but there are alternatives to consider alongside the advice of your trusted veterinarian.
Dogs and cats aren’t the most careful beings on the planet, and often they hurt themselves while playing or exploring. Blunt trauma to the eye or non-corneal injuries can be remedied with mild irritation drops at home, but always seek guidance from your veterinarian before administering.
Always contact a veterinarian whenever you are concerned about your pet’s vision health.
General questions about eye health? Contact your FYidoctors today.