10 August 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Common Eye Problems in Small Dogs

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When a dog has an eye infection, surgery, etc. it is important to have your small dog wear a ‘cone of shame’ to avoid scratching their eyes.

You find your small dog pawing at their eyes or tearing up. They are uncomfortable, and may even having trouble seeing out of one or both eyes. What should you do? One of the most common issues for small dog owners are eye problems. These can range from mild to severe and depending on the symptom your dog may or may not need to be seen by a veterinarian. Homeopathic remedies can help in some circumstances while other eye problems will need direct medical attention.

Seven common eye problems in small dogs:

1. Pink eye, red eye or conjunctivitis

Does your small dog have inflammation around the eyeball and eyelids along with discharge? You may also see them squinting or shutting their eye(s). The good news is that you can treat this at home by flushing the eye(s) three to four times per day with a mild saline eyewash. If the problem persists or is recurrent you will need to contact your veterinarian to determine the root cause such as allergies or environmental irritants.

2. Dry eye

A dry, inflamed and thickened cornea may be a constant bother for your small dog. This is a genetic disorder where not enough tears are being produced. Although this is an incurable condition, your veterinarian can place your small dog on a regular management program with the use of lubricant drops that actually stimulate tear production. You will want to clean your small dog’s eyes thoroughly before applying.

3.  Eye injury

Has your small dog recently been scratched in the eye by a cat, brush, or maybe through playfulness with another dog or puppy? Your small dog may have damaged the cornea of their eye, which often causes a bulge or cloudiness. The best way to detect an injury like this is through your veterinarian, who uses a special dye in the form of eye drops, which shows any maladies under a special light. While some small dogs may need antibiotic eye drop treatment others will naturally heal from this type of eye problem.

4.  Eye irritation

This is similar to an eye injury in your small dog and the most common symptom is eye squinting and watery eyes. Environmental changes, allergies or debris may be the culprit. A mild saline solution applied as eye drops can help treat the issue.

5.  Cataracts

If your small dog has cloudy, white corneas this might be a genetic disorder that may also be caused by diabetes. Be sure not to confuse this with another eye problem, nuclear sclerosis, which appears as cloudy and grey or blue instead of white and is a normal part of the aging process. If cataracts are left untreated by a veterinarian this may lead to glaucoma or permanent blindness.

6.  In-grown eyelid

This is a painful genetic condition that can cause your small dog a lot of discomfort. With this eye problem the eyelids are turned inward and the eye lashes may be rubbing against the cornea, which can cause an irritation or ulcer. There could also be side effects such as discharge from infection and severe redness on the cornea. The best remedy for an in-grown eyelid may be surgery.

7.  Third eyelid irritation

Did you know that all dogs have a third eyelid, which is a special protective membrane? But like any other part of the eye, this can be damaged, irritated or infected, which can cause your small dog to have yellow discharge or redness under the eye. In this situation you will need to seek veterinary care and possibly treat your small dogs with antibiotic eye drops.

While these common eye problems in small dogs may be at the top of the list, there may be other issues not outlined here that you will need to discuss with your veterinarian. Watch for any signs of your small dog rubbing their face on the ground, avoiding light, eye squinting or closed eyelids, discharge, tearing, and cloudiness. In your experience what has been the most common eye problem in your small dog? What remedies did you use and how effective were they?