Have noticed that your older dog’s eyes are looking a little cloudy recently, or that his or her eyes might seem to bulge a little more than they used to? As your pet begins to age, you may notice subtle changes in your pet’s eyes. And while some of these changes are nothing to worry about, others can be a sign of a serious problem.
So when should you be concerned? Knowing some of the more common pet eye problems can help you to feel a little more at ease.
If you notice your pet’s eyes becoming cloudy, though; it’s a good idea for your veterinarian to examine the eye to ensure that no other problem is present.In many dogs the lens of the eye becomes naturally cloudy with age. This is due to more and more fibers being laid down in the lens. This condition is called nuclear sclerosis, and it is entirely normal.
Cataracts are a disruption in the normal structure of the lens of the eye. They’re one of the most common eye problems in pets, and can be found in pets of all breeds and ages; but Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Terriers and Miniature Schnauzers are at increased risk.
Cataracts partially or completely block a pet’s vision and are visible to the observer as a cloudy appearance to the eyes. Some animals are born with cataracts, while others may develop them due to old age or illnesses such as diabetes. Cataract formation is not painful, however vision loss can be stressful for some pets.
There is no medical treatment for cataracts. A veterinary ophthalmologist can perform a surgery in which the diseased lens is removed and a new lens is placed. The surgery can be very effective, however many pets do just fine without their vision.
Glaucoma is a problem in which the pressure in the eye increases above normal. This condition can be very painful and often leads to blindness. It is more frequently seen in dogs than cats.
Glaucoma may be primary (genetic) or secondary (associated with inflammation, tumors, or cataracts). Any dog or cat may be affected, however Siamese and Burmese cats as well as Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Akitas, Chows, Samoyeds, Bouvier de Flandres, Shih Tzus, and Shar Peis are at increased risk.
Pets that have glaucoma may have no signs at all, but often have a bloodshot eye, cloudy eye surface, an enlarged pupil, or will squint. More advance glaucoma may cause the eye to bulge.
Medical and sometimes surgical treatment is required to treat the issue, however; in pets where glaucoma cannot be controlled, sometimes removing the eye is the only option that will provide pain relief.
Eye problems can range from no big deal at all, to very serious. When in doubt it is best to have your pet checked out by a veterinarian. Eyes can change very quickly, and waiting too long can cost your pet his or her vision if there is a serious problem.
If you think your pet may have an eye issue, make an appointment as soon as possible to have the issue evaluated.