Cloudiness is a common symptom of eye ulcers in dogs, medically known as corneal ulcers. It can also be a sign of doggy glaucoma, cataracts, inherited diseases, trauma, and much more. With a range of potential causes, some of which could prove fatal, you should seek out veterinary advice if you notice this new symptom in your four-legged friends.
Stop Googling – Ask a Real Vet
- What is an Eye Ulcer in Dogs
- Symptoms of Eye Ulcers in Dogs
- Causes of Eye Ulcers in Dogs
- Treatment of Eye Ulcers in Dogs
- How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
What is an Eye Ulcer in Dogs
The transparent upper layer of the eye is called the cornea, and it is this layer that can get affected by eye ulcers, also known as corneal ulcers. According to Today’s Veterinary Nurse study, the cornea itself is made up of four different layers and measures 0.62 mm in thickness on average.
Eye ulcers happen when the cornea becomes damaged. Ulcers can go away of their own accord, especially in cases of simple superficial ulcers, which affect only the top layer. Stromal and descemetoceles ulcers are more serious cases, affecting the second and third layers from the top.
In severe cases, complete perforation of the corneal layer can occur. This is when all four layers of the cornea are damaged.
Symptoms of Eye Ulcers in Dogs
The symptoms that your dog displays will depend on the type of eye ulcer they have. Infections can easily arise as a result of simple superficial ulcers. You may notice the symptoms of the infection before noticing the symptoms of eye ulcers.
- You may also notice the following:
- Increased and excessive blinking;
- White spot(s) in your dog’s eye;
- Squinting eyes;
- Sudden issues with sight;
- Dog’s eyes get suddenly cloudy;
- Redness on or around the eye;
- Swelling on or around the eye;
- Unusual discharge, particularly green or yellow-green.
Causes of Eye Ulcers in Dogs
Eye ulcers are common in dogs because they can happen so quickly and easily. Any kind of damage to the eye usually results in irritation, so scratches, stray hairs, eye goo, dust, and other foreign bodies in the eye are all common culprits.
Human products can cause eye irritation and ulcers, especially shampoos, conditioners, cleaning products around the home, air fresheners, and even perfumes.
Trauma is a very common cause of eye ulcers in dogs, and it can happen in a plethora of ways. Your dog might overestimate catching the ball, causing it to bounce off the eye area. My Bulldog regularly runs into the couch because he’s never figured out how to work his brakes, and my friend’s Pug crashes into glass patio doors at least once a month.
Even a simple scratch of the paw can result in damage and eye ulcers. If you’re not sure what has caused the irritation or scratch, review the footage from your Petcube Camera. You might find that a little scratch on the carpet started the entire problem.
Dog corneal ulcers are sometimes a sign of an underlying medical condition that requires urgent diagnosis and treatment. This includes:
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (also known as dry eye disease);
- Distichia (Abnormal hair growth)
- Hyperadrenocorticism (also known as Cushing’s disease);
- Bacterial infections;
- Viral infections;
- Tumors (benign and cancerous) on the eyelid;
- Epithelial dystrophy;
- Diabetes mellitus.
Treatment of Eye Ulcers in Dogs
In many cases, diagnosis isn’t possible by sight alone, but fluorescein, a safe-to-use eye dye, helps show the presence of ulceration with color changes. Schirmer tear tests, tonometry, slit lamp biomicroscopy, CT scans, biopsies, cytology, and other diagnostic tests can also diagnose ulcers of the eyes in dogs.
A vet will treat the symptoms of your dog’s corneal ulcer while also getting to the root of the problem. Some cases go away on their own, within one to two weeks. Those that don’t may require medications such as antibiotics, anti-fungal medications, eye lubricants, or spasm-stopping drugs, which need to be given at regular intervals throughout the day.
Even mild cases of ulcers can cause pain, so pain relief is often prescribed. This can be both systemic and topically administered.
Severe cases can require surgery to remove foreign bodies and/or repair layers of the cornea or eye. It is called upon in severe cases and when mild cases haven’t responded to other treatments.
Your vet will discuss all options with you so you can come to the right decision together. It’s also smart to have a conversation about how to effectively prevent the condition in the future.
How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
When it comes to conditions like corneal ulcers in dogs, which can cause great pain for your pets, you won’t want to hang around. Untreated viral and bacterial infections can have deadly repercussions, such as sepsis, which can kill in a matter of hours.
For those frightening emergencies, Petcube’s Emergency Fund has got you covered. For less than $1 per day, you’ll have access to up to $3,000 of urgent care for your furry friends, 24-hour-a-day access to fully qualified vets, and the peace of mind that comes with caring for your pet in every way you can.
I’d call that smart pet parenting, wouldn’t you?
Small corneal scratches and scrapes can quickly become a much bigger problem. The risk of full or partial blindness is high if you do not seek diagnosis and treatment, and it really could turn into a life-and-death situation by simply hoping it goes away.
A quick trip to the vet or a quick chat with one of our online vets could bring comfort and relief to your poor pup. It’ll also give you peace of mind.