Healthy Eyes in Dogs

Red eye in dogsRed eye in dogs can be somewhat alarming, especially if you’re not quite sure what caused it. This can be visible in several places, including the cornea. Many pet owners notice this fastest when it occurs in the white part of the eye. A qualified animal hospital, such as Whitworth Animal Clinic, should always be contacted, as the causes of red eye are generally urgent.

Dogs’ Eyes Are Sensitive

Dog eyes have a lot in common with your own: the eye is an active organ, constantly adjusting to light and focusing on objects in the environment. All the parts of the eye work together to produce images and relay them to the brain.

Dogs’ eyes differ from humans in that they have a third eyelid, the nictitating membrane, located in the inside corner of the eye. The third eyelid will extend up to protect the eyeball from scratches, or in response to inflammation. Dogs also have more rods in their corneas than humans do, which means they track light and movement better than you can (but overall their vision is less acute, and they don’t see as wide a range of colors).


Diagnosis of Red Eye in Dogs

It’s always good to remember whether there was a possible injury or other events that might explain why the red eye occurred. The vet will need this information, along with a detailed medical history, in order to make a more accurate diagnosis. You should expect a complete exam of your dog, as well as diagnostic procedures that are common for finding the cause of eye problems.

Blood and urine samples might be drawn to rule out common diseases that cause red eye in dogs. If there is any pus present in an eye that seems infected, a swab will be taken to determine whether an infection is present. Your dog’s eye pressure will be measured to check for the presence of glaucoma. Tear production may be measured, especially if a dog is otherwise showing symptoms of dry eye. Another common type of diagnostic procedure is fluorescein staining, used to diagnose corneal ulcers. Dogs who have symptoms consistent with tumors or a detached retina might undergo an ultrasound.

Treatment of Pet Eye Conditions

Whitworth Animal Clinic treats several diseases that cause eye problems in dogs. Conjunctivitis, one of the most typical eye problems in dogs, can be caused by infections or dry eye. This normally responds well to topical antibiotics. Glaucoma is a serious disease very common in some breeds that can result in blindness if untreated. It is caused by increased eye pressure, and veterinarians treat the disease with topical drugs that reduce the pressure. Corneal ulcers are quite common in dogs, typically caused by some sort of injury, and also respond well to antibiotic therapy.

One of the most important things for pet owners to remember is that any case of red eye has the potential to result in blindness if the underlying condition isn’t treated. The faster appropriate treatment is started, the sooner your dog will be on the way to a good recovery.

For more about eye health in dogs go to Canine Health Foundation.