Eye care is an important component of a pet’s overall health. Often, as a pet gets older, you may notice changes in the clarity of their eyes, but young pets can also have vision issues. A playful pup might scratch their cornea on outdoor debris causing an ulceration. Other breeds are prone to high eye pressures and require monitoring. Diabetes and heart disease can lead to glaucoma and cataracts.
Symptoms of Eye Problems:
- Squinting (blepharospasm)
- Visualizing the third eyelid (to the right)
- Eye rubbing
If you see symptoms listed above and are concerned about your pet’s eye health, there are several diagnostic tests that can be done in an exam:
- Fluorescein Stain: stains the eye to look for scratches and ulcers
- Schirmer Tear Test: measures tear production
- Tonopen: measures eye pressure
These tests often provide a diagnosis and can also help us decide the next step in treating or further diagnosing your pet’s eye problem.
Common Eye Concerns:
- Infections and conjunctivitis
- Corneal Ulcers
- Cherry Eye
- Enucleation/ Traumatic Injury
- Retinal Detachment
- Entropia/Ectropia (abnormal eye lashes)
Infections and Conjunctivitis:
Although usually treatable with ointments, conjunctivitis can be highly infectious. Dogs going to doggie day care should stay home for a few days to prevent spreading it to their play-mates. Symptoms include redness, green discharge from the eye, rubbing and scratching the eye. In more severe infections the eye can swell and the eyelids can become swollen shut. Contact us for an appointment if you are seeing any of these signs.
Scratches and Corneal Ulcers
A scratch, if left untreated, can turn into a corneal ulcer; an open sore on the cornea, the thin clear structure overlying the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. Ulcers and scratches can be detected and measured using fluorescein stain.
When we are treating your pet for a scratch or an ulcer it is important to recheck the eye as directed by the veterinarian. This allows us to monitor the healing of your pet’s eye, and prevents it from developing into a more severe condition.
The use of over the counter, or previous prescriptions can be damaging to your pet’s eye if it’s not the proper type of medication. Some medications can impede healing or even make the ulcer worse. Always make an appointment to see a veterinarian if you suspect a scratch or ulceration of the eye.
Certain eye conditions can be surgically corrected. In house surgical procedures include:
- Cherry Eye
- Corneal Debridement
- Enucleation (removal of a permanently damaged eye)
- Proptosis Repair (replacing an eye that has been displaced from its socket)
Pets recover surprisingly well after eye surgery especially to loss or changes in vision. Although our goal is always to maintain and regain site some trauma can not be repaired. However, pets other senses are so well adapted that they often live fairly normal lives.
If we are unable to provide the procedure here, Veazie Veterinary Clinic maintains strong relationships with several specialists in Maine and surrounding states.
- Dr. Alan Bacharach, Veterinary Ophthalmology of New England
- Port City Veterinary Referral Hospital