The eye, in dogs, as in all animals, is the most specialized of the sensory organs. As such, it is highly sensitive to trauma, infection and disease, both acquired and hereditary.
Because dogs can’t tell their owners when they are suffering irritation or pain in their eyes, the eye is an often overlooked area of trouble. Many a devoted dog owner has failed to notice his pet’s eye trouble until it is so advanced that blindness results or the removal of an eye is necessary.
From the tiny Pekingese, whose slightly bulging eyes can become diseased because of inadequate protection, to the huge St. Bernard, whose drooping eyelids can catch and harbor bacteria which cause eye infection, many special breeds are particularly susceptible to certain types of eye disease.
Dog owners should be aware of some of the most common eye problems, which breeds are most likely to develop them, how they are treated, and, most important, how they can spot potential trouble while there is still time to safely treat or cure the disease.
Many a serious problem starts with an irritation or trauma to the eye, which causes inflammation. If a dog’s eye becomes inflamed, the problem should be attended to immediately, as the problem can usually be treated if diagnosed in time. If inflammation is allowed to continue for too long, much more complicated problems can result.
What Can Happen To The Inflamed Eye?
For one thing, one of the most important protections the eye possesses – the ability to produce tears – can be interfered with or stopped completely. If the dog’s eye no longer produces tears because the tear glands and ducks are inflamed, the dog can develop ulcers in the eye.
Your dog can also develop a condition known as keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea – a clear protective disc over the colored part of the dog’s eye – gets inflamed, the white part of the eye often responds by growing blood vessels down over the injured cornea.
Of course, the dog will be temporarily or permanently blinded if the blood vessels are allowed to block light from entering the pupil, the small hole behind the cornea which lets light into the eye.
Infection, bumps or scratches on the eye, foreign bodies such as foxtails in the eye, and ingrown eyelashes are all common ways in which a dog’s eye becomes inflamed. If a dog’s eye become swollen, red, runs a lot, or if the dog rubs his eyes excessively, the owner should see a veterinarian before the condition becomes serious.