Having man’s best friend to keep you company is the best part of being a dog owner. However, we all know that dogs get sick too. Knowing that your dog is suffering with some kind of illness is probably one of the worst things you could go through as a dog owner. Still, it’s your responsibility to care for your pet and provide it with the best care possible if it does fall into illness. Eye problems are some of the most common afflictions that dogs go through, and an example of this is a condition called uveitis—the inflammation of the eyes.
What is uveitis?
Uveitis is an affliction that affects humans as well as dogs. Uveitis is simply the inflammation of the dark tissue located at the front of the eye known as the uvea. The uvea contains a lot of blood vessels, and if it ever gets inflamed, it causes a lot of pain. The formal name for the condition is actually anterior uveitis, which literally translates to inflammation of the front of the eye. The condition affects the eye area surrounding the pupils and the iris, so it can effectively threaten your dog’s eye health and eyesight.
Causes of uveitis
There are many things that can cause your dog’s eye to get inflamed. The most obvious one is trauma or injury. Injury directly to the eye could cause damage to the blood vessels in the uvea, which in turn causes inflammation. Also, various diseases could cause inflammation as well. Autoimmune and metabolic diseases, tumors, and cancers could all cause anterior uveitis to develop. Infections cause by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites are also common causes of inflammation. Different virus agents will affect dog species differently.
Symptoms of uveitis
All dog owners should be aware of the symptoms of uveitis. It’s important to act on uveitis as soon as possible, so knowing the signs of the illness is imperative. Your dog will surely let you know if something is bothering it, so the most important thing you could do is be sensitive and observe your dog carefully. Pain is the number symptom of uveitis, and you’ll know if your dog is experiencing any type of pain. Other physical symptoms include redness, discharge production, and excessive tears. You might also notice your dog squinting more than usual. A closer observation of the eye should reveal swelling or changes in the color of the iris. You might also notice a cloudiness or dullness on the eye surface or unusually small pupils.
If you suspect your dog to be experiencing any kind of eye issues, you need to take it to the vet to be examined right away. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog is actually suffering from anterior uveitis or not. A physical examination of the eye will be performed using an ophthalmoscope. All parts of the eye will be examined along with the pressure within the eye. The vet is also likely to perform a series of blood tests in order to rule out any autoimmune diseases, infections, or anything else that might cause the eye problems. If needed, the vet will perform ultrasounds or x-rays of the eye to make a diagnosis.
Treatment of uveitis will depend solely on the diagnosis that your dog gets. Either way, the typical course of uveitis treatment will involve prescription drops or ointments that you’ll have to apply onto the affected eye. Your dog’s vet will also likely prescribe some oral medications to address both the pain and inflammation that comes with a uveitis diagnosis. If possible, whatever caused the inflammation to begin with will also be addressed. In rare cases when a secondary complication develops, surgical removal of the affected eye might become necessary.
Management of uveitis should be easy enough as long as you follow your vet’s instructions. It may be difficult to administer eye ointments at first, but you and your dog will get used to it. Make sure to follow up with your vet regularly to ensure that your dog is healing appropriately. It’s also important to consider why your dog developed the inflammation to begin with. If it’s something that could’ve been prevented, make sure you take the appropriate actions to create a living environment for your dog that’s conducive to better health overall.