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Eye Inflammation (Anterior Uveitis) in Dogs

Anterior Uveitis in Dogs

When inflammation occurs in the uvea, the dark tissue housing blood vessels at the eye’s front, it results in a painful condition known as anterior uveitis, indicating inflammation at the eye’s forefront. This ailment impacts the iris and adjacent pupil tissue in dogs, potentially jeopardizing their vision.

Symptoms and Types

  • Pain
  • Eye redness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Discharge
  • Squinting
  • Unusually small or irregularly shaped pupil
  • Swelling of the eyeball
  • Cloudiness or dullness at the front of the eye
  • Uneven or abnormal iris color

Causes

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Tumors
  • Cancers
  • Trauma or injury
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Lens protein entering the eye fluid
  • Infections such as:
    • Parasites
    • Fungi
    • Bacteria
    • Toxoplasmosis (a multi-system disease caused by a parasite)
    • Rickettsia (a parasitic disease found in many ticks, fleas, and lice)

Viruses also contribute to anterior uveitis in animals, although the viral agents vary for each species. For dogs, the canine herpes virus, canine distemper virus, and canine adenovirus can induce the condition. Notably, canine adenovirus-1 can be prevented with a vaccine.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will gather a comprehensive medical history and perform a physical examination of your dog, typically using an ophthalmoscope, a specialized instrument to inspect the eye. Both the front and back parts of the eye will be examined to assess intraocular pressure.

Additionally, a complete blood count and a biochemical profile will be ordered to detect autoimmune diseases, infectious organisms, or other underlying conditions.

Further diagnostic tests may include ultrasounds and X-rays of the eye, as well as an aspirate from the eye for microscopic examination.

Treatment

Treatment for anterior uveitis will vary based on the diagnosis. Typically, it involves the administration of prescribed drops or ointments for the dog’s eye, along with oral medications to alleviate pain and inflammation.

The specific treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. For instance, if an infection is identified, the veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic topical medication. In cases where a fungal infection is the culprit, anti-fungal drugs will be recommended.

In rare and exceptional circumstances, such as when a tumor leads to secondary complications like glaucoma, surgical removal of the eye may be advised by your veterinarian.

Living and Management

Living and management of a dog with anterior uveitis involves strict adherence to your veterinarian’s instructions. While administering medication to the dog’s eye can pose challenges, it is crucial for preserving your pet’s long-term vision. Dedicate time each day to carefully inspect your dog’s eyes for any changes. Regular follow-up appointments are essential to allow the veterinarian to monitor the eye at consistent intervals.

Additionally, it’s important to assess the environment in which your pet resides. Could it be exposed to sources of infection, particularly fungal infections, in its surroundings? You may need to make adjustments to your pet’s living conditions accordingly.

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