Red Eye in Dogs and Cats
Red eye in dogs and cats may signal many inflammatory conditions and infectious diseases:
Conjunctivitis - inflammation of the mucous membranes of theis the most common eye disease of all domestic animals," says Dr. Ralph Hamor, veterinary ophthalmologist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital in Urbana. Dogs with allergies and purebred cats are prone to conjunctivitis. The eye reddens because of the increased flow of blood, and you may see swelling of the membranes. Viruses or bacteria may cause conjunctivitis; parasites (such as ticks) and allergies are less common causes. Ticks can transmit several parasites that can cause conjunctivitis, keratitis and uveitis (3). Discharge may be clear or contain , depending on severity of the infection.
"As a rule of thumb, conjunctivitis itches," explains Dr. Hamor. "Keeping the eye clean and eliminating the cause of the conjunctivitis with appropriate medication are keys to control." Keratitis- "Chronic superficial keratitis, also know as degenerative, occurs primarily in German Shepherds but occasionally in other breeds," says Dr. Paul Gerding, also a veterinary ophthalmologist at the teaching hospital.
The disease causes pigmentation and superficial blood vessels on the eye. It's not that painful but can decrease vision if left untreated. Keratitis also occurs in chronic cases of keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). KCS occurs when there is not enough moisture in the tear film. A thick, ropydischarge is associated with this common ophthalmic disorder. In chronic cases, the corneal layer of the eye becomes infiltrated with blood vessels, pigmented, and harder because of the long-term irritation. Treatment involves tear stimulants and anti-inflammatories. "Eye ulcers are often associated with and may require surgical repair," adds Dr. Gerding.
In the case of external eye diseases such as, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) and superficial corneal ulcers, eyedrops containing an antibacterial agent are often prescribed. Several daily instillations of eyedrops over several days are required for successful treatment. Eyedrops have several disadvantages, the biggest one being rapid elimination of the drug from the corneal surface. To overcome the disadvantage of repeated instillations, scientists have developed a soluble bioadhesive ophthalmic drug insert (BODI) that can be placed in the lower cul de sac of the eye. This BODI reduces the treatment to a single application and improves the efficiency of the treatment.
Inflammation of the eyelids and cherry eye - Eyelids may become inflamed from; a bacterial, parasitic, or fungal infection; a metabolic or immune system problem; ; trauma; or sun damage. Treatment varies by exact diagnosis.
"Cherry eye" is a prolapse of the
Scleritis is inflammation of the sclera, opaque white outer coat enclosing the eyeball. Scleritis may result from an underlying parasitic disease, such as(3) or lyme disease. "Scleritis usually involves only one eye. The red area may develop suddenly and be lumpy, immovable, and hard," says Dr. Gerding. It is often treated with steroids. Scleritis and uveitis, incidentally, can result in loss of the eye.
Uveitis - "Inflammation of part or all of the uveal tract is a very common eye problem in domestic animals and human beings," says Dr. Hamor. The uvea surrounds much of the eye with blood vessels. Your pet may show signs of eye pain such as an overflow of tears, eyelid spasms, sensitivity to light, recession of the eyeball into the orbit, and small pupils. If untreated
Glaucoma - "Glaucoma, if not treated immediately, can lead to irreversible blindness. A dog with glaucoma deserves the same emergency status as a dog that has been hit by a car," says Dr. Hamor. "Veterinarians may see glaucoma in 8 percent of all canine patients."is an elevation of pressure in the eyeball because an obstruction prevents fluids in the eye from flowing out.Signs of glaucoma include cloudy pupils, large pupils, and redness.
"Treatment of acute glaucoma by the primary care veterinarian should be directed toward one goal—rapid reduction of pressure in the eye before permanent blindness occurs. Medical therapy must be started immediately after diagnosis in order to preserve vision," says Dr. Hamor.
Recent studies show that glaucoma may result from yeast infection caused by yeast bacteria (Candida albicans). Breeds that consistently featured among the highest for glaucoma prevalence from the period 1994-2002 included American Cocker spaniels, Basset Hound, Wire Fox Terrier, Boston Terrier, Siberian Husky, Cairn Terrier, Chow Chow, Norwegian Elk Hound and Miniature Poodle.
Blood in the anterior chamber of the eye. Bleeding in the eye generally results from trauma, inflammation, or other defects. Bleeding from trauma may need to be surgically corrected. Uveitis and
For further information about a suspected eye problem in your pet, contact your local veterinarian.
Herpes Viral Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis in cats is usually of viral origin and usually that means a Herpesvirus (Feline herpesvirus-1 to be specific). Herpes infection is extremely common in young kittens especially those facing other stresses (fleas, poor nutrition, environmental cold etc.). Feral kittens, outdoor kittens, shelter kittens, etc. are all high risk for Herpes infection.
is a condition when the eyelashes turn inward. It is a common cause of eye watering. Clean the eyes carefully with a wet cotton pad, using separate pad for each eye and making sure any debris buildup in the corner of the eye is removed.
Eyes that constantly water will produce permanent tear stains that can hardly be completely removed. Their appearance can be reduced by clipping the hair short. Some staining is caused by hair falling in the eyes and causing them to water.
Make sure that the top knot is kept tidy to prevent this in such breeds as Poodle, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso and Bearded Collie. Watery eyes, squinting and thick discharge from one or both eyes is seen in dogs affected by Trichiasis. In this condition some lashes grow inward and rub on the suraface of the eye. Districhiasis occurs when two eyelashes grow from a single follicle. The extra lash often is the one that causes irritation. Pekingese, Poodle and Bedlington Terrier, Shar Peis and St. Bernards often have this condition. These deformities can eventually cause scarring of the cornea so that it loses its normal transparency and impairs the vision. The only effective treatment of the abnormal lashes is surgical removal.
Jaundice is yellowing of the whites of the eyes. There are many possible causes of jaundice:
- Progressive disease causing increasing damage to the liver (hepatitis)
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Medications (recent anasthetic, acetaminophen, isoniazid, nitrofurantoin, methotrexate, sulfonamides, phenytoin, excessive intake of paracetamol, co-amoxiclav, flucloxacillin)
- Viral infections
Underlying diseases must be treated quickly and monitored closely to avoid seious complications.