How to Approach Eye Care for Your Animals

Many pet owners don’t consider eye care when thinking about the overall health of their pet, but vision is a vital element that should not be ignored.

Most veterinary practices are comfortable handling eye care for animals, but if the issue is serious, you may want to visit a veterinary ophthalmologist to determine a specialized course of treatment.

There are several dog breeds who are at a higher risk for developing eye issues: flat-faced breeds such as pugs, shih tzus, and bulldogs, and dogs with long hair on and around their faces, like sheepdogs, poodles, and Maltese.

Find out more about eye problems for dogs and the range of animal ophthalmology services below.

What are common eye problems for dogs?

Dogs’ eyes have similar form and function to those of humans. Therefore, your pet may have some of the same issues that you could have with your vision, especially in old age. Dogs can suffer from a variety of eye injuries, including:

  • Damaged cornea: Your dog may get something stuck inside its eye, especially if it plays outside often. If it scratches its eye with its nails, it can lead to a damaged cornea. Look for eye redness and pawing of the eye.
  • Cherry eye: Did you know your dog has three eyelids? The third one, below the inner corner of the eye, hosts a tear-producing gland. If the gland pops out of its location, it can create this red, cherry appearance.
  • Dry eye: When your dog’s tear ducts aren’t producing enough lubrication, irritation can occur because dirt and dust aren’t safely removed. If you see your pet blinking repeatedly or squinting, this could be the problem.
  • Pink eye: Just like humans, dogs can contract conjunctivitis, leading to redness and discharge from the eyes. Some dogs can acquire pink eye as an allergic reaction to irritants like cigarette smoke or pollen.
  • Cataracts: This disease blocks light from reaching the back of the eye, leading to poor vision in your dog. Blurry eyes or a milky appearance are two common indicators, but you should verify with a vet.

Can I perform my dog’s eye test?

Because you see your dog the most, you have the chance to regularly check your pet’s eyes. Healthy dog eyes are clear and moist. You can gently pull down the eyelid to check for any irritation. If you see any redness, swelling or discharge, or if your pet has trouble keeping their eyelids open, you will want to make an appointment with your local veterinarian. They may refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist if the issue goes beyond their scope.

What is a veterinary ophthalmologist?

A veterinary ophthalmologist is a vet with a specialty in treating eye disorders. They must be board certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (AVCO). This process usually involves a thorough review of the applicant’s credentials, followed by a three-day exam consisting of written, practical, and surgical sections. They may work at an animal eye clinic or have their own specialty practice. Your pet may need a specialist if:

  • Your dog’s condition hasn’t responded to initial treatment.
  • Your dog’s vision continues to deteriorate.
  • Your pet has diabetes, which can lead to cataracts.
  • You want to determine if your pet has an inherited ocular disease.

If you’re wondering, “Is there a veterinary ophthalmologist near me?” Your vet should be able to refer you to one in the area.

What are some other steps to keep my dog’s eyes safe?

Aside from regular observation of your pet’s eyes, there are a few ways to preemptively avoid eye issues, including:

  • Keep them trim: If your dog has a longer coat, make sure to keep it as trim as possible and away from their eyes to avoid potential scratches and infections.
  • Clean the corners: Don’t let crustiness build up in the corners of your dog’s eyes. Some breeds produce more discharge than others. Make sure you clean your pet’s eyes with a damp cloth or cotton ball.
  • Crack the window: Dogs love sticking their head out the window, but that leaves them susceptible to debris finding its way into their eyes. Try to crack the window instead.

Shop our new Pharmacy!

Local care, online convenience!

Book an Appoiment Today

  • Chronic liver disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pyothorax


Related Content