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Dog Eye Diseases

Dogs can be affected by various eye diseases, much like humans.
The following are some of the more commonly seen canine eye diseases.

Eyelid Growths

Dogs can often be affected by small growths on their eyelids. While the tumors themselves are often non-cancerous, they can rub on the eye itself, causing irritation. These tumors can usually be easily removed with minor surgery.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or KCS, is the medical name for inadequate tear production. Dog breeds that have shortened muzzles and bulging eyes, such as pugs, are more prone to this problem. Typical symptoms are a persistent mucous discharge and a dull appearance to the cornea. Conjunctivitis is a common secondary problem.

KCS is easily diagnosed by a Schirmer Tear Test, which uses a strip to measure the actual production of tears within the eye. It only takes a minute for this painless test to be completed.

Able to be efficiently treated, but not cured, a combination of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, along with artificial tears, is often prescribed for KCS patients. Occasionally, in certain situations, a surgery can be performed to establish tear production from one of the salivary glands.


As in humans, Glaucoma is caused by the build-up of pressure within the eye, which will eventually cause the eyeball to expand, resulting in complete vision loss.

It can be treated medically with drops, but in advanced cases where the eye has become enlarged, the eyeball is often removed and the socket is sewn shut.

Corneal Ulcers

A Corneal Ulcer is an abrasion on the surface of the eye. Occuring in varying degrees of severity, which cause varied levels of discomfort, it is usually caused by trauma to the eye itself.

Severe cases are visible to the naked eye, but minor cases need to be diagnosed with the help of a fluorescein stain, which outlines the ulcer and allows the vet to see how deep it penetrates into the cornea.

Treatment usually consists of topical antibiotic therapy and follow-up visits, where the vet will continue to use the fluorescein stain until the ulcer is completely healed.


Conjunctivitis, or the inflammation of the white part of the eyeball, the conjunctiva, is usually accompanied by discharge, pawing or rubbing of the eye, and even swelling. It can be caused by trauma, infection, allergies and certain medications.

Treatment can consist of steroid drops and/or antibiotic drops or ointments, depending on the cause determined by your vet.

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 7/10/2019: 8:49:13 PM ET