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Eye inflammation in dogs

Just like us humans, your dog can suffer from eye inflammation. As a dog owner, it is good to know and understand the reason why your dog is affected, as well as to know what the symptoms may be. By being aware, you can help your dog at an early stage if it suffers from an eye disease.
Close up of an old white dog

Some eye diseases can permanently affect the dog's vision. If you notice that your dog shows certain symptoms such as redness, discomfort (for example, that they wants to rub their eye), sticky eye discharge around the eyes or sensitivity to light, you should always contact your veterinarian.

Why does the dog get eye inflammation?

There are many different reasons why your dog suffers from eye inflammation:

  • Irritations due to, for example, dust, smoke or shampoo
  • Foreign body/object in the eye, for example, blades of grass
  • Decreased tear fluid production
  • Anatomical deviations such as misaligned eyelashes on the edge of the eyelid that irritate
  • Damage to the cornea 

Symptoms of eye inflammation in dogs

There are certain symptoms that dog owners can look for if they think their dog has eye inflammation. If you know that your dog has allergies, congenital abnormalities or is easily affected by inflammation, it is especially important to keep an eye on the dog's eye health.

A certain amount of fluid from the dog's eyes is normal. Every time your dog blinks, it flushes the eye clean. Different breeds have different eye types, some breeds have more protruding eyes, some deep-set eyes and some have more skin and fur around the eyes which can affect the tear flow. 

Examples of symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Redness, swelling or inflammation in or around the eye 
  • Increased tear flow or more sticky secretions from the eye
  • Dog blinking or squinting
  • Dog keeping one eye closed
  • Dog shows light sensitivity
  • Dog is rubbing their eye with their paw

Diagnosis of eye inflammation in dogs

Diagnosing eye inflammation in dogs is very similar to how it is done in humans. Some of the tests performed are:

  • Visual examination of the eye and eyelids
  • Schirmer test - a strip of paper is inserted into the lower eyelid of each eye to measure tear fluid production
  • If damage to the cornea is suspected, a special staining of the cornea of ​​the eye is done (fluorescein staining). You can then see any damage to the cornea
  • To examine the anterior and posterior half of the eye, a slit lamp and ophthalmoscope are used. Then you can see the lens, the vitreous body and the retina
  • Intraocular pressure (IOP) is measured with an instrument called a tonometer to look for signs of glaucoma
  • Cytology (cell test) to check for possible bacteria or the presence of other forms of inflammation
  • Blood and urine tests are done to check if your dog has a more general inflammation or disease

Treatment of eye inflammation in dogs

Since your dog can suffer from eye inflammation for many different reasons, there are also different treatments. If you notice that your dog has suffered from an inflammation, you can start by rinsing the eyes with common salt. You can also use softening and lubricating eye drops in the dog's eyes. Please contact your veterinarian and ask for advice.

If your dog is not getting better or is already showing signs of pain, always have the eye checked by a vet. Depending on what caused the inflammation, the vet will recommend the right treatment.

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