Common Pet Opthalmology Issues and Treatment Options

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 @ 07:22 AM

You love your pet as a member of your family, and thus you want to provide the best care for your pet. That includes taking care of his or her eyes. To do that, you need information. Here are some of the most common pet ophthalmology issues and treatment options. The information provided in this article is not intended to take the place of treatment by a qualified veterinarian. 

Environmental Irritation or Injury

Environmental irritation or injury is one of the most common eye problems in cats and dogs,Traveling with pets though it can happen to any species of companion animal. Causes include exposure to harsh chemicals or smoke, exposure to the elements, and getting a grooming product in the eyes. Dogs -- who love to stick their heads out of the windows of moving cars -- are especially prone to scratched corneas as a result of contact with dust, dirt, or insects.

You can prevent environmental irritation or injury by keeping your pet inside on windy or especially dusty days, rolling vehicle windows down only part way, and taking care when bathing your pet to avoid getting shampoo or water in his eyes. If you notice redness, watering eyes, squinting, "eye goop" or if your pet seems to be pawing at her eyes, take her to a veterinarian as soon as possible. 


Cataracts are also one of the most common pet ophthalmology issues. They are caused by an opaque area on the lens of the eye. For some animals, cataracts may be present at birth or develop at a young age, but they are most common in older dogs, cats and other pets and occur as a simple consequence of the aging process. 

Take your pet to a vet for an evaluation if you see any cloudy or gray areas in his eyes. Since some cataracts result from uncontrolled diabetes, ask your vet to check your pet's blood sugar. In some cases, cataract surgery may resolve the problem. Even if your pet's vision is permanently impaired, many blind or partially-blind animals adapt well and live full, healthy lives. 

Pink Eye

Also known by its medical name Conjunctivitis, pink eye is an inflammation of the membrane that covers the back of the eyelid and the eyeball. It is extremely common in mammals (including humans) and can result from bacterial and viral infections, exposure to environmental toxins such as smoke or fumes, and allergies.  Symptoms of pink eye include red, swollen eyes with clear, green, or yellow discharge. As with all pet ophthalmology issues, you'll need to seek veterinary care to confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause. 

Treatment generally includes flushing the affected eye with saline fluid. If the cause of your pet's pink eye is bacterial, your vet may prescribe antibiotics; if so, it is important that you finish the full course of the medication, even if your pet seems to be cured. Call your vet if the condition persists or gets worse. 

Did you know, Fairview Animal Hospital and Dr Cheryl Cullen are offering ophthalmology referral clinics!

We will be offering ophthalmology referral clinics at Fairview Animal Hospital the fourth Saturday of every month (click for dates).


Topics: veterinary hospital, cat care, ophthalmology, dog care