To support TVM’s annual Pet Eye Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th September 2023), we thought it was the ideal opportunity to raise awareness of eye problems in dogs, so that you’re aware of the signs to look out for. Early diagnosis and treatment is key in most cases – it could prevent vision loss or help to detect an underlying medical condition.
Common symptoms of eye problems in dogs
- Inflammation and swelling
- Excessive squinting or blinking
- Frequent pawing at eye
- Discharge, weeping or excessive tearing
- Dull, cloudy or a change in colour
- Keeping one, or both eyes closed
- Sensitivity to light
- Disorientated – frequently bumping into things
- Bulging eye
- Lump in, or around the eye
- Visible 3rd eyelid (also known as the haw)
- Loss of vision, or a declining vision
- Behavioural changes – withdrawn or aggressive linked to pain
If you notice a change in your dog’s eyes, contact your local vet for an appointment.
Common eye conditions
Cataracts occur when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. Over time, cataracts can reduce vision and, if left untreated, can often lead to blindness.
Cherry eye is a condition where the gland inside the third eyelid protrudes. It looks like a small, red cherry in the corner of the eye, which causes inflammation and discomfort.
Dry eye is a condition that stops the eye producing enough tears. This can cause discomfort, redness, corneal damage and increase the risk of infections.
Eye infections or conjunctivitis
Eye infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses. If your dog regularly suffers from eye infections, it is possible there could be an underlying cause, such as dry eye, which will need investigating.
Eye ulcers are a wound on the eye’s surface. Treatment is required to help them heal as, if neglected, eye ulcers can lead to the loss of an eye.
It is not uncommon for dogs to have eyelashes that grow in the wrong direction, from the wrong place, or even to develop a whole extra row of them. Any eyelash that rubs on the surface of the eye will cause irritation.
Inward or outward turning eyelids, known as entropion and ectropion, respectively, can cause inflammation, pain and infections.
Glaucoma is characterised by increased pressure inside the eye. This painful condition can rapidly progress to blindness, if not promptly treated.
Lens luxation refers to the displacement of the eye’s lens from its normal position. It can cause discomfort and if untreated, the loss of vision.
Masses and tumours
Masses and tumours can form behind, in or around the eye. It’s crucial to get any new lumps examined by your vet immediately.
Pannus is an inflammation which is caused by an immune system problem, which results in small lumps or growths to form on the surface of the eye, affecting the dog’s vision.
Uveitis is the inflammation of the iris, the coloured part of the eye, and the structures around it. This condition can cause discomfort and potentially lead to vision problems if left untreated.
If you have concerns about your dog’s eyes, contact your local St Kitts practice.
St Kitts Vets Hartley Wintney: 01252 844044
St Kitts Vets Basingstoke: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799