While corneal ulcers in dogs are more prevalent among certain breeds, all dogs are at risk of forming them. Read on to learn about the causes, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of corneal ulcers among dogs.
Causes of Corneal Ulcers Among Dogs
How does a corneal ulcer develop? There are several reasons for corneal ulcers in dogs. The most prevalent cause is trauma. Additionally, an ulcer might result from blunt trauma, like a dog rubbing its eye on the carpet of your Northern Baltimore County home, or due to a laceration, such as a contact with a sharp object like a branch while running through the yard or a cat scratch. Another common reason for corneal ulcers among dogs is a chemical burn of the cornea (the transparent, shiny part that is the front of the eyeball). This might occur when an irritating chemical like shampoo or drywall dust enters the dog’s eye.
Corneal ulcers among dogs can also develop when they have an infected or diseased corneal epithelium. The corneal epithelium is the cornea’s outermost layer, a thin layer of cells. In some cases, dogs can form a corneal ulcer for unknown reasons. This mostly happens in dogs older than 6 years old.
Signs or Symptoms
Corneal ulcers among dogs are quite painful. Most dogs with a corneal ulcer will rub their affected eyes with a paw or on the carpet to relieve the intense pain. Also, they keep their lids tightly closed to protect their eyes. Sometimes, a discharge will run down their faces or collect in the corner of their eyes. Other prevalent signs of corneal ulcers among dogs also include:
- Blinking excessively
- Redness or swelling of the eye tissues
- Poor appetite
- Other abnormal behaviors
Corneal ulcers among dogs are relatively easy to diagnose by a veterinarian at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital. The doctor will do an initial ocular examination using an ophthalmoscope to evaluate your dog’s eye. Most dogs will need a diagnostic test involving fluorescein dye to stain their corneas. If a scratch or ulcer is present, the dye will become green in the areas of ulceration.
The treatment varies on whether there is a corneal ulcer, corneal abrasion, or descemetocele present. Consequently, corneal abrasions typically heal within 5 days. Medication will be given to the dog to prevent bacterial infections and relieve spasms and pain. Your dog may also need additional eye medication to help expedite healing. Some ulcers can be so severe or slow to heal. These ulcers can require corneal debridement. This procedure uses a specialized polishing burr on the eye to alter the surface, allowing healing to progress.
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!