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|Can My Dog Go Blind from Red Eye?|
Prompt evaluation and diagnosis, along with effective treatment, reduces the risk that a red eye will develop into a blind eye. Your veterinarian offers a full range of testing and diagnostic tools to assess your dog’s condition. Schedule an appointment with your veterinary clinic if you notice that your dog develops a red eye.
Dogs occasionally develop a red eye. The redness may be in the white of the eye, in the clear part of the eye called the cornea, or within the eyeball. There are many causes of a red eye, but all ocular diseases should always be considered an urgent matter, and be checked immediately by a veterinarian.
A dog owner will typically be asked to describe the pet’s medical history, symptoms, and if there were any pertinent events prior to the development of the red eye, such as injury or illness. The veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on any dog that has a red eye to look for any other abnormalities that may give a hint as to their cause. The veterinarian will then concentrate on the eyes. There are three basic ophthalmic tests: a Schirmer test, tonometry, and fluorescein staining.
A Schirmer test measures tear production. Special paper strips are placed in each eye and it is noted how many millimeters of wetness the tears can form in 60 seconds. Too little tear production is called keratoconjuntivitis sicca (KCS) or "dry eye" is the common name. Tonometry is used to measure the pressure inside the dog’s eyes; increased pressure indicates glaucoma. Fluorescein staining checks for any scratch or interruption of the outside covering of the cornea. A positive stain indicates a corneal ulcer.
There are other tests that may be performed. The veterinarian may swab any pus draining from the dog’s eyes and send it to the laboratory for testing. Lab work, including a chemistry panel, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis may be performed to check for underlying diseases. An ultrasound of an eye may be done to check for a detached retina or masses within the eye or between the eye and the bony eye socket.
A veterinarian diagnoses the cause of a dog’s red eye by assessing symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and laboratory testing. The most common causes of a red eye are a corneal ulcer, glaucoma, and conjunctivitis.
Corneal ulcers usually result from trauma such as running into a bush, fighting with other pets, or rubbing their eye. Ulcers are treated with topical antibiotics, and checked with fluorescein stain every few days until healed.
Glaucoma can occur in any dog, is sometimes related to other conditions such as cataracts, but is genetic in some breeds. Cocker Spaniels, terriers, Poodles, Basset Hounds, and Beagles are especially prone to this disease. Glaucoma can be very serious, it often leads to blindness. There are topical medications used to reduce the increased pressure.
Conjunctivitis can have many causes. Dry eye causes a conjunctivitis; this is treated with a topical medication that increases the amount of tears produced. Conjunctivitis can also be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, or other irritants.
There are many other causes of a red eye: uveitis, orbital disease, bleeding disorders, trauma, luxated lens, etc. Your veterinarian can sort through all the possibilities and determine the appropriate treatment.
American Kennel Club, Canine Health Foundation. "Canine Eye Health." November 2013.
Barfield Laminack, Elizabeth, DVM; Myrna, Kathern, DVM, MS; Moore, Phillip Anthony, DVM, Diplomate ACVO. “Clinical Approach to Canine Red Eye.” Today’s Veterinary Practice, May/June 2013.
Exclusive Offers & Services
We would like to thank our clients for recommending us to their friends! If you refer new clients to us, you will receive a $25 credit to your account to use for future visits or medications! The new client just has to give us your name when they visit so we can give you credit for the referral.
Is the cost of preventive care (wellness visits, vaccines, blood testing, etc...) difficult to budget? Do you feel like you are unable to afford all of the preventive care your pet needs due to financial constraints? Problem solved! We are now offering Wellness Plans for all of our patients. Wellness Plans allow you to divide all of the preventive care costs into 12 equal monthly payments. We offer tiered plans to allow you chose the level of preventive care your pet requires and every plan has discounted services to help save you money. If you are interested, click on "Wellness Plans" to learn more about the wellness plans offered at our clinic, give us a call, or ask about our plans at your next appointment for more information.
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In order to provide our clients with a wider array of medications, including compounded medications, we have a new online pharmacy. If you are a current customer of VetSource and have questions about the new online pharmacy, please give us a call at (410) 875-5437.
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