Caring for your pet’s eyes
Q: Why does my dog or cat scratch at his eyes or rub them on the carpet?
A: There can be several reasons for such a behavior.- The most obvious ones would be a foreign substance in the eye itself.- Look in the eye for some hair, a piece of weed or other plant material.- If you find something, then try to carefully remove it; then you might want to rinse the eye out with some eye solution.
If there is something embedded in the soft eye tissue, this may require immediate veterinary attention.- If the inner lower eyelid looks red – light pink is the normal color – or the white part of the eye is red, then, again, this needs medical attention.-
— Dogs can have allergies, causing red, itchy, teary eyes.- This can lead to inflammation, and sometimes infection, if left untreated or if they constantly scratch and irritate the eye.- These allergies may only occur at certain times of the year and sometimes clear up without any treatment.- If the redness and discharge persist, then your pet may need an eye medication to clear up the problem.
— If your pet – dog or cat – is blinking his eye more than usual, it may indicate a painful eye that requires immediate care.- The cornea may be scratched or ulcerated.- This is a- painful situation and causes pets to blink excessively and rub their eyes.–
Q: How can you tell if the cornea or eyeball is scratched?
A: Sometimes, if there is a severe scratch or a deep ulcer on the cornea you can visualize it, because the outer layer of the eyeball is damaged and will have an irregular surface.- The most accurate way to diagnose the problem is a fluorescein eye stain.- The stain will bond to the area of the eyeball surface that is damaged.- With a special blue light, the stain will be seen as a bright green color on the affected area.- If there is a stain uptake than there is a strict treatment regimen, with a topical eye antibiotic and a pain killer, that needs to be followed.
Q: Why does my dog- have a central whitish area in his eyes?- And his vision seems to be deteriorating?
A: As your dog ages, so do all the organs in the body, including the eyes.- As you all know, when we age, our eyes need a little extra help in the form of eyeglasses.- Our dogs don’t seem to accept the use of- glasses, they are stubborn.- The whitish area in the middle of the cornea is the lens changing consistency.- The lens is made up of fluid and as we age, the lens material will change and harden.– The hardened lens is called a- cataract and will affect your dog’s vision.- As the cataract is forming, your dog will have trouble judging some- distances and there will be a loss detail.- He may bump into screen and glass doors, or misjudge height- while jumping.- There are procedures, as in humans, where veterinary opthamologists- correct and remove the cataract, but it is expensive and requires some after care.
There is another eye problem, not to be confused with a cataract, where a whitish material starts to cover the cornea.- This can cause eventual blindness when the cornea is completely covered.- This starts at the corner of the eye and progresses slowly.- It is called “pannus” and can be treated if caught early.- There are some other rare diseases that can cause a similar problem, but your pet should get medical attention if any of these symptoms occur.
Remember that dogs tend to tolerate a lot more eye irritations than us humans do.- So look at their eyes on a regular basis, as well as their ears, for any problems.
There are some other common eye and eyelid problems that some of you in the valley have asked me to write about.- I’ll address them in the next article.
Editor’s note: Dr. Nadine Lober can be reached at 949-7972.
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