A wide variety of eye disorders are common in pets, and many of them can cause redness, excessive tearing, and discomfort. Your pet’s cornea or other ocular structures could be harmed if the underlying cause isn’t identified and treated quickly. Squinting, tearing, irritation, or pain in the eyes are signs of one of the following prevalent eye conditions in pets.
Conjunctivitis, also called “pink eye,” is a type of infection that causes inflammation, redness, and a sticky discharge from the eye. The mucus membranes inside your pet’s eyes are called the conjunctiva, and they are hidden on both sides of the eye. When these membranes are exposed to environmental forces, they are easily infected. Pink eye is a reaction caused by various factors, like:
- A bacterial or viral infection
- Dust that gets into the eye
When there is a foreign object or an allergy, a simple sterile eye wash is usually needed to eliminate the symptoms. On the other hand, bacterial and viral infections need antibiotics that a vet or an ophthalmologist can only give. Vaccinating your pet against infectious diseases like feline herpesvirus or canine adenovirus can also protect them from conjunctivitis. For additional information on the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing conjunctivitis, you may visit this link.
The cornea is a transparent, skin-like tissue that covers the eye’s surface and can be easily damaged. Trauma, poor tear production, or abnormal ocular anatomy can cause corneal ulcers and other wounds, and the affected eye may be red, swollen, and excessively draining. Your pet will rub or squint the affected eye in pain. Treatments for this condition include:
- Using antibiotic eye drops or ointments to stop or cure infections
- Managing pain with pain medications like atropine
- Giving the cornea time to heal
In severe cases, the cornea may need surgical intervention or other advanced treatments to protect or address it and speed up the healing recovery. Some vaccinations, such as the one for canine distemper, can also aid in the prevention of corneal ulcers by boosting your pet’s immune system.
When fluid production in the eye becomes unbalanced, pressure builds up, causing glaucoma, a disease commonly seen in dogs. These are some of the symptoms:
- Excessive tears
- Dilated pupils
- Bulging eyes
- A cloudy look in the eyes
Glaucoma can permanently damage the optic nerve if left untreated. While medications can help, veterinary animal surgery performed by an ophthalmologist is usually the most effective solution for minimizing the disease’s potential damage.
The cherry eye is one of the most common ocular conditions in animals. While humans have two eyelids, dogs and cats have three. The inner corner of the eye is the location of the third, typically hidden eyelid. In some pets, the eyelid ligaments that hold the gland that produces tears in place become weak.
When these ligaments become loose, the gland pops out of its position, mimicking a red cherry stuck in the corner of the eye. To permanently treat this issue, you must take your pet to the vet clinic for surgery to make a deeper pocket where the gland can sit. After surgery, regular vet eye care is also important to ensure your pet’s eyes stay healthy and to catch any problems in their early stages.
While you can’t always avoid an eye issue, there are measures you can take to keep your pet’s eyes healthy and free of injury. Bring them to your vet regularly for wellness care, get them vaccinated, and keep their toenails short so they don’t hurt themselves by scratching.
You can also keep the hair around their eyes short and gently clean their eyes when they’re taking a bath. Whatever eye condition your pet may be experiencing, consult with your vet if you have any queries or concerns about your pet’s eye health.