As fur parents, our dogs are a source of happiness for our families. We always want them to be in top shape and living their best lives! Just like us, as dogs get older, they may encounter health related issues. These age-related health problems in dogs may be stressful, but recognizing the signs early can significantly decrease their chances of becoming serious concerns. Dog eye problems like loss of sight or poor vision can affect any breeds, regardless of its age. It is important to know which factors can affect eye health issues and what you can do to prevent them.
The following are some of the most common eye problems that occur in dogs, along with helpful advice on how to treat them. We also recommend consulting a veterinarian ophthalmologist.
Also known as pink eye. Most dogs get this eye ailment at some point in their lives. The disease affects the tissues that line the lower eyelid and cover the front half of the eyeball. It can be irritating, but it is usually not painful for the pet. In some cases, if the pink eye is caused by an allergic reaction, it will require a saline eyewash to clear the infection.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
- Eye appears red
- Swelling of the eye and the surrounding soft tissue
- Mucus discharge
Causes of Conjunctivitis
- Allergic reaction to pollen
- Cigarette smoke
- Other irritants
Your dog will need to visit a veterinarian if they have pink eye caused by a bacterial infection. The vet will give them antibiotic eye drops to treat the infection. Pink eye can also occur in dogs due to the Adenovirus virus, the same virus responsible for human pink eye. Your veterinarian will give you tips on how to care for your dog until the viral pink eye has cleared.
You need to take precautions and practice proper hygiene with this type of pink eye infection, as it can spread to every member of the household including adults and children.
2. Corneal Ulcer
Just like us humans, dogs can also get something in their eyes that can cause irritation or worse, damaged cornea. Some corneal abrasions heal on their own within 3-10 days. Some causes of a corneal ulcer are trauma or chemical burn.
If your dog is having a chemical burn of the cornea due to certain chemicals, it is better to avoid those irritants. You might also want to consider having a natural pet shampoo for your dog.
Symptoms of Corneal Ulcer
- Eye redness
- Excessive tearing
- Pawing at the affected eye
Causes of Corneal Ulcer
- Blunt trauma such as a dog rubbing its eye on the grass or rough carpet
- Laceration from sharp objects
- Chemical burn of the cornea
You should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect they have damaged their cornea. They will evaluate the eye injury and prevent it from getting worse.
3. Lump on the eyelid
You might be cuddling your dog and you noticed something on the upper eyelid. When you tried to wipe it off, it was actually a bump. While most pups won't be bothered by these lumps, they should be checked by a veterinarian. The vet may perform a biopsy or fine-needle aspiration, so they can examine the tissue under a microscope to assess whether the lump is cancerous.
- Lump or nodule swelling on the inside edge of the lower or upper eyelid
- Meibomian glands are clogged and the oil they produce accumulates
- Meibomian glands can be clogged due to dirt and sand
An eye condition known as glaucoma is characterized by increased intraocular pressure due to inadequate drainage of fluids. A dog with this condition may experience pain and may even become blind if left untreated.
Symptoms of glaucoma in dogs:
- Watery discharge from the eye
- Cloudy, bluish appearance to the eye
- Dilated pupils
- Bulging of the eyeballs
Causes of glaucoma in dogs
- A number of breeds show an increased risk of primary glaucoma including (but not limited to) Boston terriers, cocker spaniels, beagles, basset hounds, Siberian huskies, Labrador retrievers, samoyed, toy poodles, and Great Danes
- Inadequate drainage of aqueous fluid
- Damage to the lens of the eye
- Inflammation of the interior of the eye
- Intraocular bleeding
An ophthalmic solution and other medication can alleviate the symptoms of canine glaucoma. Canine glaucoma can be treated surgically in severe cases, but the procedure is a simple one with a short recovery time.
Dogs' eyes are very similar to human eyes. The pupils, corneas, lenses, rods, and cones they have are similar to ours, although they are able to see things differently. Dog’s eye structures change as they age. Senior dogs are prone to cataracts. A dog cataract can worsen your dog's eyesight and possibly cause blindness.
Symptoms of cataract
- Changes in eye color or changes in pupil size or shape
- Cloudy pupils in one or both eyes
- Difficulty seeing in dark surroundings
- Rubbing or scratching of the eyes
Causes of cataract
- Old age
Our dog’s eyes are very precious and they must be protected and maintained. No pet can function well if its eyes are not in good shape. As pets grow older, just like humans, their overall health should be carefully observed. Always consult your veterinarian if you have concerns regarding your fur babies. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips on how to take care of a pet that you might want to check out.