One of the more distressing eye problems that affects dogs is also one of the most common.
Eye injuries occur with astonishing consistency, with types of injuries ranging from lacerations to blunt trauma.
Foreign body injuries, like thorn lacerations, can also occur. Some dogs are even shot in the eye with pellet guns or other weapons, while there is also an ill-fated range of chemical injuries from paint or soap.
Other injuries come from things like insect bites.
|Slow vision loss||Unwilling to go in the dark. Bumps into walls, etc.||Neurological signs. Seizures, change in personality||Brain Tumor||See Vet|
|Gradual vision loss||Unwilling to go in the dark. Bumps into walls, etc.||None||Cataracts, retinal or corneal degeneration, corneal pigmentation||See Vet|
|Sudden vision loss||Afraid to move, bumps into walls and objects||None||Retinal degeneration or detachment. Intraocular hemorrhage. Trauma - Acute glaucoma||Make vet appt. immediately|
|Streaks of brown on fur below the eye (small poodles susceptible)||Eye overflows and causes chronic wet fur||None||Abnormal tear ducts or plugged||Mild cases - no treatment. If serious, a specialist can perform surgery to repair tear ducts|
|Red mass - resembling beans in or near the corner of eye and nose||Usually young Cocker Spaniels and Beagles most common||None||Cherry eye or gland swelling of third eyelid||See vet - Surgery usually required|
|One or both eyes has a substance resembling mucus||Dog doesn't seem to squint (if so - off an on)||Eyes are bloodshot with a thick yellow or green discharg||Conjunctivitis due to irritant, allergy, infection, abnormal eyelashes or lids||Traditional Vet will prescribe antibiotic ointment. Holistic vets often recommend Eyebright which is what I use for my own dogs for Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye.|
|Stringy, thick discharge from one or both eyes||Typically Chronic||Cornea changes over time||Dry Eye Problem (lack of tears)||Medication required from Vet|
|Eye out of socket||Typically occurs in brachycephalic breeds (Pugs, Pekingnese)||Lethargic - obvious pain||Proptosed globe (eyeball falls forward from socket)||Go IMMEDIATELY to emergency clinic|
|Squinting||Appears uncomfortable||Eye tearing and bloodshot||Possible corneal ulcer or deeper eye issue||Vet will examine for reason and prescribe medicine (surgery rare)|
|Eyelids swollen||Rapid onset||Face scratching||Allergic reaction||Vet will prescribe antihistamines/cortisone|
|Pupil size unequal||May squint||Possible tearing|
Corneal ulcer. Inflammation inside eye.
|Eye trauma or brain tumor||Make appt. with vet. If in pain - see vet right away|
|Eye larger than normal/forward||Lethargic - no appetite||When mouth is opened it causes pain||Tumor or abscess behind the eye||See vet within 24 hrs|
|Dog eyes cloudy (cornea)||Eye might look bigger, vision loss||None||Cornea swelling, Edema (fluid). Possibly glaucoma or underlying life-threatening issue.||Emergency-go to vet or clinic immediately|
|Lens cloudy||None||Possible vision loss||Cataracts. Old dogs nuclear (lenticular) sclerosis||See vet|
So What Do You Do When Your Dog Experiences An Eye Injury?
Without hesitation take him or her to the veterinarian. But, you must work hard to prevent any further trauma to the eye. Your dog will want to rub his or her eye, but you can’t allow this to happen. There are restraint collars to prevent your dog from irritating his or her injury.
Also, eye irrigating solutions are useful for moistening the eye and keeping the area clean while you wait for the veterinarian. If you use the solution, collar and ensure that you get your dog to the vet as soon as possible, you are doing all you can to prevent long-lasting damage after trauma.
Common Eye Injuries In Dogs
There are many types of injuries that can occur, but some of the most common ones are the most dangerous. Consider the sort of injury that can happen when your dog and cat are fighting it out over a key parcel of your living room. With a simple flash of your kitty’s claws, your dog can be sent yapping for the hills.
1. But what if the claws get in your dog’s eyes?
These injuries are compounded by the fact that claws are often unclean (despite what the little duchess would have you believe) and can induce bacteria to the wound site.
This is a problem in many other sorts of injuries, hence the need for sanitation and swift medical attention.
And if the lens is ruptured by the cat’s claw, difficulties are compounded further because of possible damage. If the wounded lens is removed as soon as possible by an ophthalmologist, it can be saved before vision loss sets in. But even in the most innocent of cases (and despite your cat’s best intentions), vision loss can still occur if the claws tear the cornea.
2. Dogs cause damage to each other, too. If you have more than one dog and they like to play fight, eyes can be bruised through battles and scrapes. In some cases, the dog’s eye can even be squeezed by a bite and not display any signs of injury immediately after incident. Over time, conditions like glaucoma can result because of damage you can’t see on the surface.
Remember that your dog’s eye is an awful lot like a malleable ball. If it is squeezed, the ball compresses but can rapidly regain its shape. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any structural damage.
Pugs, Bull Dogs, Shih Tzus and other flat-faced dogs are prone to another type of injury called Proptosis. Because these dogs have shallow eye sockets and big eyelid openings, the eyes are actually forced from the sockets in some cases.
This is an EMERGENCY situation and must be addressed immediately by calling the veterinarian. Use a sterile saline solution and the aforementioned eye irrigation solution to keep the eye moist (do not use cleaning solutions under any circumstances) and keep your dog calm. Don’t rush for pain medication and do not let your dog rub the eye area.
There are many other types of eye injuries to discuss and other ways that dogs can get hurt, sadly. It’s a big world out there and it can be hard to keep them safe from harm at all times. Despite best efforts, our best friends can become seriously hurt. But with care and attention (and the right procedures), we can stave off some of the more severe vision problems and ensure our dogs’ sight is maintained.