Managing Corneal Ulcer In Dogs

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The cornea is a translucent, glossy membrane that forms the front of the eyeball. Corneal ulcer is a deep deterioration of the third layer of the eye, giving it a cloudy appearance and is painful. The most common cause of this is trauma. This can result from eyelashes rubbing on the eye (entropion), cat scratching, or contact with a sharp object. Many pets will rub the infected eye with a paw or a carpet to try to ease the discomfort.

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Symptoms of a Corneal Ulcer in Dogs

Corneal ulcers are painful and can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. If you detect a difference in one or both of your dog’s eyes, or if your dog starts showing any of the following physical symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately:

  • Keeping the eye closed 
  • Constant tearing 
  • Squinting 
  • Cloudy cornea 
  • Scratching the eye with the paw or on the ground 
  • Redness in the white of the eye 
  • Discharge (if inflammation occurs)

What Are The Common Causes Of Corneal Ulcers?

Trauma is one of the most common cause of an ulcer, usually from a claw of a fellow pet, or from anything sharp that can scratch the eye. Other eye conditions can cause corneal ulcers, such as entropion, distichiasis and dry eye.

Diagnosing Corneal Ulcers In Dogs

The vet will observe the eye, including the surface of the eye, the iris, the lens and the retina. They will scan for any other eye condition or something that could have predisposed your pet to an ulcer. They will use the test to measure the size, position and depth of the ulcer.

Treating Corneal Ulcers

Treatment with eye drops or antibiotic ointment is usually the best treatment option since it may avoid infection while lubricating the eye to reduce the irritation of the eyelid rub during blinking. Surgery will result in a much shorter recovery time, but the cost will be much higher. Your pet has an additional eyelid that sits between the other two lids and is attached to the inside corner of the eye – this is known as the third eyelid, and surgery may be done to pull this structure over the eyeball and hold it in place with a suture. Vets perform this surgery under general anesthetics.

Recovery Process Of Eye Ulcers

A number of eye ulcers can heal with eye drops and medicines with a recovery period of 3-5 days, but if your dog needs surgery, the healing process is very critical and is not always a fast recovery. Daily check-ups are needed, and keeping your dog’s eye clean is very important. Dogs will instinctively attempt to rub and scratch their eyes while in pain, so wearing an Elizabethan collar will also discourage your dog from doing this, the design is designed to come just below their nose that provides protection from licking, rubbing wounds or surgical incisions. Dogs will still perform regular activities in the cone, such as eating and sleeping, and should not be removed until completely healed. Lubricants are important to keep the dog’s eye on as they keep it clean and moist. Daily check-ups are important as the vet can see the progress of the eye in the healing stages.

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