When a pet is suffering from eye discomfort or is having difficulty seeing, most pet owners take notice right away. The symptoms are usually apparent, which allows an owner to quickly notice the issue and schedule an exam. Most common eye problems are either hereditary or caused by trauma, and when given proper veterinary care, heal well.
Symptoms of eye problems in pets:
- Difficulty finding food and water bowls or other common items.
- Enlarged eyeballs or swelling around the eye socket.
- Eye discharge or crusty build-up around eyes.
- Eye glow happening more frequently, even in well-lit situations.
- Hesitation when entering dark rooms or unfamiliar areas.
- Increased instances of pupil dilation.
- Pawing at eyes.
- Watery eyes.
Common eye diseases
- Cataracts – The gradual clouding of a pet’s lenses. Cataracts are usually genetic and do not begin occurring until a pet is elderly, though there are exceptions. Surgical removal is the best form of treatment.
- Cherry eye – The loosening of a dog’s second eyelid tissue-membrane that causes it to prolapse, creating a swollen red mass in the lower corner of the eye. If left untreated, cherry eye can cause chronic dry eye which can lead to more serious problems.
- Chronic conjunctivitis – Similar to conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) in humans. Pets experience puffy, red, itchy eyes and sensitivity to light. It occurs most commonly in large breeds because of their sizeable eye sockets.
- Chronic superficial keratitis – Scar tissue and blood vessels enter cornea, leaving the affected areas black in color. When not taken care of, keratitis can eventually cause permanent blindness.
- Corneal ulcers – Occurs when a dog gets something stuck in their eye or injures it, and the eye becomes infected, requiring antibiotics. Depending on the size and type of object stuck, surgical removal might be required.
- Glaucoma – The build-up of fluid in the eye, causing an increase in pressure. When glaucoma is not addressed immediately in a pet, it usually causes permanent vision loss.
- Progressive retinol atrophy (PRA) – Several inherited, progressive diseases that affect the retina. Simultaneously occurring in both eyes, PRA usually causes complete vision loss in pets. Currently, there is no cure.
In some instances, other diseases can cause these vision problems. Pets suffering from distemper, infectious hepatitis, Lyme disease, and rocky mountain fever are recommended to undergo a routine eye exam to check for any potential coexisting eye diseases.
How is a pet’s eye disease treated?
When a pet is diagnosed with any eye issue, there are various methods that can treat the problem depending on the diagnosis and the severity. Some diseases require prompt surgery while others can clear up with a simple prescription ointment or eye drops. The veterinarian will determine what treatment method is suited best for your pet’s case and will discuss all treatment options during your visit. If you have any questions about the various treatment options, please feel free to ask questions during your appointment, we encourage all of our pet owners to be well-informed.