The eyes are the window to the soul… so there’s no time to waste when you notice your beloved pet has a sore or problematic eye. An animal’s eye functions much in the same way as human’s eyes and anatomically it is made of many of the same structures. Therefor we also see many of the same conditions in our pets than we do in people.
The eye might look like a very simple organ but it anything but simple. It is responsible for one of the most important senses after all! It consists of many different structures and each structure has its own set of specific conditions. Many of the conditions and diseases of the eye can look very similar so it is very important to distinguish between them in order to treat them effectively.
The most common signs to look out for are:
- Discharge from the eye – watery, thick or mucous
- Red eye
- Keeping the eye closed
- Cloudy appearance of the eye
- Pawing at the face or rubbing face against objects or the ground
- Bumping into objects, especially at night
Now, let’s go through some of the more common conditions we see at the clinic.
The cornea is the translucent outer layer of the eye. The first thing you will notice we do when your pet visits us for a sore or weepy eye, is that we will use a neon yellow/orange eye drop to stain you pet’s eye. We will then us a blue light to look into the eye. The cornea is normally very smooth so under normal circumstances the stain will not cling to the cornea. But if there is a small “divot” or “dent” in the cornea, the stain will cling to it. And essentially that is what an ulcer is – a divot or dent in the cornea. An ulcer can be caused by a number of factors: trauma, dry eyes or short hairs scratching the eye. Although most ulcers will heal swiftly after the proper course of treatment is chosen, there are some that are very stubborn. In that case we might advise visiting a specialist eye clinic.
Dry eye/keratoconjunctivitis sicca
This is a chronic condition caused by a decrease in tear production. If your pets’ outer structures of the eye don’t receive enough tears or lubrication they might be more prone to inflammation, chronic infection of the eye or even eye ulcers. When you bring your pet in for a problematic eye and we suspect dry eyes, we will use a special test to measure how much tears they produce. Dry eye is treatable but your pet will need eye drops lifelong.
The conjunctiva is the pink tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and conjunctivitis is an inflammation of this tissue. This can happen due to many different reason but some of the more common reason are allergies, infections, dry eyes and eyelid abnormalities.
There are many more conditions that could affect your pet’s eyes and cause significant discomfort, so it is always best top bring then in for a proper look. Your four-legged friend will soon once again be able to look deep into your eyes begging for their favourite treat.