Dog Eye Infection - Causes & Treatments
Dog eye anatomy is similar to humans, but they have their differences. They both are located in the eye socket or the orbit. They possess the white sclera and cornea, and the iris that controls light entering the eye through the black pupil to form images on the retina. There is the lens controlled by ciliary muscles, photoreceptors, and all the glands and ducts. But canines wield more rods than humans do.
Dog eye problems can range from mild to downright blinding. And because dogs' eyes pretty much function like the human eye, these infections that lead to total or partial blindness can be devastating for a puppy too. Taking care of your dog's eyes should always be a top priority.
This article will help you understand common eye problems in dogs, their probable causes, symptoms, and the best treatment plan to take if your dog suffers from any of them.
What Does A Dog's Vision Look like?
Dogs have a special way they see the world. They have something called a dichromatic vision. This means they can only see violet-blue and yellow, and everything else is in different shades of grey. In normal terms based on the color spectrum of human vision, they will be called red-green color blind. They are also nearsighted with a wider field of view than humans, which makes them better at motion detection. That’s why they see so well at night.
Types Of Dog Eye Infections
The most common infections that affect your dog's vision include:
Another name for it is pink or red eye. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a thin mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelid.
It is characterized by redness of the white of the eyes and clear or green discharge. You may also notice your pooch squinting, blinking or pawing their eyes.
This is an inflammation of the cornea, which is the clear outer protective layer of the eye. It can result in an increase in tearing and eye discharge that may range from white to green. Behaviorally, your dog may squint or blink to avoid light.
This is an inflammation of any part of the interior portion of the eye, which is made up of the iris, the ciliary body behind it, and the choroid behind the ciliary body.
It usually results in a swollen eyeball or eye area, severe pain and diminished vision. You may also notice cloudiness or bleeding in the eye. Your dog may often keep their eyes shut.
- Abnormalities in the eyelids and tear glands.
The tear glands produce tears which help to wash the eye and keep it moist. An abnormality might leave the eye dry and at risk of further infection.
You may also notice scars, swelling of the eyelid, unusual coloring and sore-like wounds on the cornea. If your puppy begins to involuntarily wink excessively, that’s a sign that he’s not getting enough moisture in his eyes.
Causes Of Dog Eye Infections
Dog eye problems could be a symptom of an underlying illness or a condition caused by an eye infection. Infection can be caused by :
- Bacteria like canine brucellosis, leptospirosis.
- Viruses like distemper, herpes, hepatitis, and canine influenza.
- Parasite-borne diseases like canine ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease.
- Irritants or allergens like pollen or smoke.
- Foreign objects or debris like dog hair, dirt, grass, or seeds getting into the eye.
- Trauma to the eye.
- Scratches or cuts on the cornea.
On the other hand, underlying or noninfectious conditions that could include eye problems as part of their symptoms include:
- Tear duct or gland problems.
- Dry eyes.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Poisoning from ingestion of toxic substances.
- Brain tumors.
- Eyelid abnormalities like entropion, where the eyelid rolls in and irritates the eyeball, and cherry eye where the dog's third eyelid sticks out.
Symptoms of Dog Eye Problems
If you suspect your pet has an eye infection or eye problem, you would need to take note of certain symptoms that may arise. Just a couple of these symptoms may be evident, or in worse cases, all may show up.
Some signs of eye infections to look out for in your puppy dog include:
- Redness of the eye or surrounding area of the eye.
- Tearing up often.
- Thick, smelly discharge from the eye.
- Swellings around the eye.
- Excessive squinting and blinking.
- Rubbing or pawing the eye.
- Evident display of pain in the eye or head.
- Sensitivity to light.
- Holding their eyes closed.
Treatment Of Dog Eye Infections.
Depending on the cause after diagnosis, your vet could recommend a topical medication or oral medications like antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs or a combination of both. In some cases, surgery is recommended.
Common routes for dog eye treatments could include:
- If the cause is a bacterial infection, antibiotics and eye drops are recommended.
- In the case where the eye problem is caused by an allergic reaction, an antihistamine will most likely be recommended as a soothing agent.
- If the cause is irritation from a foreign body i.e debris, it will be removed by the vet.
- In the case of dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), medications like cyclosporine or tacrolimus that help stimulate tear production are recommended.
- If your dog has blocked tear ducts, surgery will be required to remove the blockage. Then eye drops and antibiotics can be administered.
- Eyelid or eyelash abnormalities are usually corrected with surgery as the treatment plan.
How To Prevent Dog Eye Problems
It's always better to work to prevent diseases than to treat them. You can prevent a lot of health issues for your puppy's eyes by simply:
- Avoiding trauma to the eye. Keep your puppy dog away from rough exercises.
- Avoiding places that risk the introduction of foreign bodies and allergens to your dog's eyes.
- Closing the window while you drive to prevent irritants like dust, seeds, and debris from flying into your puppy's eyes from the wind.
- Trim excess hair around the eye so that it won't irritate the eyeball.
- Giving them a diet rich in Vitamin A. This particular nutrient helps with building cells in the eye and growing out strong nails you’ll still have to trim with a dog nail grinder. Grooming is just as important as the factor of nutrition when it comes to prevention.
- Wash your dog's face while grooming to keep it clean and prevent germs from entering the eye.
- Protect your dogs' eyes from too much light and other elements with dog goggles.
Do Dogs See In The Dark?
Canines can see a lot better than humans in dim or low light situations. Although dog vision at night isn't exactly night-vision-goggles-quality, they hold their own.
The reason behind their good night vision is the large amount of light-sensitive rods found in their retina that collect light. In low-lighted places, it is captured by the pupil, which controls the amount of i that enters the eye.
The dog’s retina then collects this light and uses a thin tissue behind the retina called the tapetum lucidum to amplify and reflect the light back to the lens which focuses on the image the dog is looking at.
If you begin to notice any signs of infections or problems with your dogs' eyes, it's best to head to the vet.
This article serves to be informative, and never to take the place of a vet's diagnosis. The vet will pinpoint the cause of your puppy’s symptoms and recommend proper medication. Never prescribe medication to your pet yourself or give them over-the-counter medicine.