Your pet’s eyes see the world differently than ours do, but they still can develop many of the same vision and ocular issues that we can, from corneal ulcers to cataracts to glaucoma. Because of their eye’s anatomy, which includes a third eyelid, there are also a host of other conditions that can occur.
Let’s get a clearer vision of what kinds of eye problems our dogs and cats might experience.
Common Eye Illnesses
Illnesses and ailments of the eye can occur because of injury, genetics, malformations, advancing age, and systemic health issues. For example, dogs with shorter snouts, like Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus, are particularly prone to corneal injuries because their sockets are shallow and their eyes are wider.
Some of the conditions the Ophthalmology Department at Guardian Veterinary Specialists sees most often are:
- Cherry eye
- Corneal ulcers
- Dry eye
- Eyelid tumors
- Retinal disease, including detachment and dysplasia
- Uveitis (inflammation)
A variety of management options, both medical and surgical, are available for many ocular diseases in veterinary species. In most cases, early diagnosis and treatment allows good comfort, vision, and quality of life.
Common Eye Injuries
Traumatic eye injuries in dogs and cats can result from scratches from bushes or trees, fights with other animals, or debris getting into the eye. Signs that your pet may have an injured eye include:
- Excessive watery or mucoid discharge
- Avoiding bright lights
- Blood in or around the eye
- Proptosis (eye is out of the socket)
- Pawing at the eye
Even the smallest corneal scratch can lead to intense pain and infection, so if you notice any of the above symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately. They will instruct you on any first aid that can be given at home, including flushing the eye, before getting professional veterinary care.
The eye is a complex organ, so while many general practice veterinarians are trained to treat some diseases of the eye, they may wish to refer you to a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist like Kyle Tofflemire, DVM, DACVO, at Guardian Veterinary Specialists. Dr. Tofflemire has advanced training and expertise in sophisticated diagnostics and treatments for pets with eye-related issues.
Additionally, Guardian is the only regional practice providing emergency ophthalmology services – as well as general emergency and critical care – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So if your pet’s eyes ever need a closer look, we’re here for you.