Ocular Disturbances in Veterinary Medicine – Canine & Feline



Normal Presentation of the Canine Eye

Ocular or Opthalamic Disturbances are common in veterinary medicine and occur due to various etiology such as parasitic infestation, mechanical injury, neoplasia, and other causes. In this article, we will discuss common conditions that occur primarily in Canines and Felines.

Corneal Ulcers – Corneal ulcer is basically a wound on the transparent window of the eye called a cornea. This can occur due to dry eye, eyelid abnormalities, injury caused by nail scratches, foreign bodies, or any contact with chemicals. Ulcers can be found superficially as well as deep on the cornea by the degree of the injury caused. Hypersensitivity to light, seepage of discharge at the corner, and pain are some signs exhibited by the animal. In felines, corneal Ulcer is commonly associated with Feline Herpes Virus (FHV). A Fluorescein stain test is done to diagnose ulcers.

Corneal Ulcer in Cat and Dog

Corneal Ulcer in Cat and Dog

Iridocyclitis — Inflammation of the Anterior Uvea, which is the inflammation of the ciliary body and iris. Causative agents are blunt trauma, cataract, intra-ocular neoplasia, and neurogenic reflex from the cornea. Signs exhibited reduced intra-ocular pressure (IOP), pain, squinting, redness of the eyes, tears, etc. During diagnosis, it should be differentiated from corneal ulcerations and glaucoma.

Iridocyclitis Canine

Iridocyclitis in Canine Eye

Cherry Eyes – is the prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. It is more frequently presented in canines than in felines. The third eyelid gland is located on the inner side of the third eyelid and is held inside by a ligament. If this ligament becomes loose or breaks, the gland pops out giving an appearance of the bright red cherry-like mass at the nasal corner of the eye. Some of the commonly affected breeds include cocker spaniels, bulldogs, beagles, bloodhounds, Lhasa apsos, Shih Tzus, and other brachycephalic breeds. Burmese and Persian cats are also susceptible to the cherry eye.

Cherry Eye in Dog and Cat

Cherry Eye in Dog and Cat

Glaucoma – Glaucoma occurs when an imbalance in the production and drainage of fluid in the eye (aqueous humor) causes a buildup of fluid that increases eye pressure to unhealthy levels. It causes the destruction of the retina and optic disk (the spot where the optic nerve enters the eye).

Glaucoma in one eye of a cat

Glaucoma in one eye of a cat

Glaucoma is of two types – i.) Open-angle glaucoma is a painless and gradual development of blind spots or loss of vision over a long period of time. ii.) Closed-angle glaucoma is a sudden increase in eye pressure with severe pain, redness, and loss of vision, this type of glaucoma is most commonly seen in our patients. Signs of Glaucoma include sluggish to dilated pupils, congestion of the veins in the conjunctiva, cloudy cornea, loss of vision, and enlargement of the eyes.

Conjunctivitis – also known as Pink eye, is inflammation of the conjunctiva and is common in dogs. The causes vary from infections to environmental irritants. The signs are redness of the eye, swelling of the tissue around the cornea, discharge from the eye, and mild eye discomfort. Conjunctivitis occurs in both eyes due to viral or bacterial infection.  

Conjunctivitis in Dog
Conjunctivitis in Dog
Conjunctivitis in Cat
Conjunctivitis in Cat

Conjunctival hyperemia is inflammation of the conjunctiva due to other factors like dry eye, corneal ulcers, uveitis, glaucoma, etc. Allergic conjunctivitis due to environmental irritants is common in dogs. The signs are redness of the eye, discharge from the eye, and mild eye discomfort.

Conjunctival hyperemia
Conjunctival hyperemia in Canine Eye with severity score (0-3)

The eye is a highly sensitive and fragile structure, if there is delay in a proper diagnosis and treatment of an eye condition, it can lead to permanent blindness. Many medical and surgical treatment options are available now a days because of emerging specialisation in veterinary ophthalmology. As the saying goes a stitch in time saves the nine, don’t waste any time in taking your pet to a veterinary ophthalmologist or a veterinarian if you notice any eye problem in your pet.

Dr Kasturi Bhadsavle, MVSc, India’s First Veterinary Opthalmologist – The Eye Vet


Published by TheGeekVeterinarian

Veterinarian by Profession, Blogger by Passion

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