There are many types of eye diseases or conditions that dogs can suffer from. Unfortunately, there isn't a breed of dog that is immune from eye diseases and conditions and that is why all owners must be aware the significance of these conditions.
There are several common eye diseases in dogs, some of which are more treatable than others. These conditions can develop at any time in the dog's life, though some are more common during the early or late part of life if heredity or anatomical features are associated with the condition. The common types of eye diseases in dogs include cherry eye, corneal ulcers, entropion, glaucoma and pannus. Most dogs will never suffer from any conditions, but it's important to take a dog of any age to the vet when there has been a change in the appearance of the eye.
Each disease has different features. Cherry eye is usually easily identifiable but also quite shocking as the third eyelid of the dog swells up and appears as a cherry looking mass on the outside of the eye. The corneal ulcer of the eye will often appear as a cloudy eye that is red, or squinty in appearance. This is caused by damage to the cornea which could come through infection from a wound to the eye. Entropion is a hereditary condition in which the dog's eyelids will continually roll upward so that you can see the inside of the eyelid at most, if not at all times. The problem here is that the eyelid is no longer protecting the eye and damage can occur. Glaucoma is also a hereditary condition in which there is too much fluid pressure in the eye, which can result in inflammation of the eye, dislocation of the lens, and even blindness. Pannus is a relatively rare condition in which a fleshlike material grows atop of the cornea. Unfortunately the cause of the condition is not known, although there are known breeds, such as German Shepherds that are more prone to the condition.
Knowing what each of these conditions may look like can help an owner know when there may be a problem. Because any of these conditions could affect any dog at any time, it's important to remember that all eye diseases and conditions need treatment. Knowing the signs is the first step to identification, but as soon as a dog owner suspects a problem the dog should be brought to the veterinarian for positive identification of the problem. Many conditions present much the same way, so it's important to have a trained individual make the actual diagnosis and create a plan for treatment.
The good news is that most eye disease in dogs can be treated. In the case of cherry eye a simple surgical procedure is performed and the dog will be able to go home the same day in most cases. Most corneal ulcers can be repaired or removed with little to no long term damage to the eyesight. Even entropion can usually be cured with a surgery that will make better use of the eye muscles. The treatment of both glaucoma and pannus will depend upon the patient. Some cases are quite simple to treat while others are more difficult. The sooner the dog is seen after exhibiting symptoms, the easier treatment will be.
There are some risks associated with eye disease in dogs. Some conditions, such as glaucoma, even with treatment will usually result in the loss of vision for the dog. This process can be controlled or slowed considerably with treatment, but it's important to realize that long term this condition cannot be cured. The sooner problems are identified, the better the prognosis is. Eye disease such as cherry eye is really not all that serious, but if not treated immediately the eye could become infected and ultimately vision can be impact. It's important with suspected eye disease in dogs to seek treatment immediately to preserve the integrity of the eye structure and vision.