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Separation of the Inner Lining of the Eye in Dogs

Retinal Detachment in Dogs

The retina, situated as the innermost lining of the eye, can detach from the back of the eyeball, a condition known as retinal detachment. Its occurrence can stem from a range of genetic and non-genetic factors, sometimes indicating an underlying medical issue of significant concern. Treatment options exist, but in many cases, retinal detachment can result in irreversible blindness.

This medical phenomenon affects both dogs and cats alike.

Symptoms and Types

Canines with a detached retina may exhibit symptoms such as blindness or diminished vision. Occasionally, the dog’s iris may remain dilated and fail to respond appropriately to light exposure.


Although retinal detachment can manifest in any canine breed and at any life stage, it tends to be more prevalent in older dogs. Some animals are born with inherent defects leading to immediate or delayed retinal detachment. If both retinas detach, it often signals an underlying medical condition of greater severity. For instance, conditions like glaucoma may be implicated. Exposure to certain toxins can also prompt retinal detachment.

Research has shown that high blood pressure (hypertension) in dogs can contribute to retinal detachment. Metabolic factors may include hyperthyroidism, marked by elevated levels of thyroid hormone; hyperproteinemia, an increase in blood protein levels; and hypoxia, inadequate oxygen levels in bodily tissues. Other potential causes encompass ocular trauma, ocular neoplasia (abnormal tissue growth on the eye), and inflammation of blood vessels in and around the eye.


Your vet will perform a comprehensive eye assessment and request a thorough blood analysis to determine if the retinal detachment stems from a more severe underlying medical issue.


The approach to treating a detached retina hinges on the seriousness and origin of the ailment. Surgical options exist to reattach the retina, alongside techniques designed to aid retinal tissue regeneration.

Should surgery prove unnecessary, your vet will address the underlying medical cause of the retinal detachment by prescribing medication for your dog.

Living and Management

Your vet will advise limiting your dog’s activity following surgery. Various complications, including blindness, cataract formation, glaucoma, and chronic eye discomfort, may arise. To promptly detect such issues, your vet will monitor your dog’s blood cell counts and suggest regular follow-up examinations.

There’s also the possibility that the retina cannot be reattached or that the dog’s blindness is permanent. In such instances, your vet may provide training on lifestyle management to enhance your pet’s overall quality of life.


As of now, there are no known preventive measures for a detached retina.

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