The Eye Health of Dogs
- By: Stan Cristian
Certain dog breeds tend to get more eye injuries than others. Other health problems can also aggravate eye issues and may need treatment before affecting your dog's eyesight. A common eye problem in dogs is conjunctivitis.
If your dog shows red, swollen or weepy eyes, this needs to be checked out by a veterinarian immediately as they are signs that a problem exists. These symptoms can mean an allergy or conjunctivitis. They can also signal an injury of some sort to the dog's eyes. Whatever the problem is, your dog should be seen by a vet to diagnose and treat the problem before it gets worse.
The keratoconjunctivitis sicca is caused by not having enough fluid in the tear film. It's characterized by thick mucus showing up as a thin coating over the eye. Your vet can diagnosis this without performing costly tests. He, or she, will then treat the condition through a stimulant and an anti-inflammatory medication.
German Shepherds often suffer from a condition called superficial keratitis, or more commonly known as degenerative pannus. It affects the pigmentation and superficial blood vessels in the dog's eye. While not painful, it can result in the loss of vision if not treated. This condition can appear in other breeds of dogs, but it's rare.
Inflammation of the eye can be caused by bacteria, parasites, dermatitis, viruses and neoplasia. It can also be brought on by the sun, trauma, or metabolic disease. The condition and seriousness will direct the treatment. Cherry Eye, which is a prolapse of the 3rd eyelid gland, isn't serious, but breeds such as Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, and Pekinese are more apt to develop it than others. Removal of the gland is indicated.
Queratitis is an eye inflammation specifically involving the cornea. It's caused by a scratch, virus, or bacteria in the eye. This infection needs immediate treatment or risk an ulcer developing. Only your vet can administer proper treatment. Trying to handle it yourself can result in more eye damage.
Clean your dog's eyes daily to ensure that no dirt or foreign objects remain that can irritate the eyes. Most dog breeds make enough tears to get rid of these things themselves. However, breeds like the Cocker Spaniel need some help as they don't have enough tears to get the job done.
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