Red Eye Problems in Dogs

Red eye problems in dogs indicate an infection of the eye, but may also be a sign of an eye problem such as glaucoma. One or both the eyes may be affected. The condition may be treated with medication prescribed to eliminate the infection or the underlying condition.

Causes of Red Eye Problems

The red eye problems may be caused by a few underlying conditions such as:

  • Eye infections, which can be the result of a foreign body trapped in the eye or the exposure to viruses, fungi or bacteria
  • Allergies to various substances
  • Anterior uveitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Eye ulcers
  • Glaucoma, or increased pressure on the ocular nerve
  • Parasites such as fleas or mites
  • A tumor in the eye area
  • Immune system problems that cause the irritation of the eye or the inflammation of the tissues (i.e. lupus)

Symptoms of Red Eye Problems

The symptoms of the red eye problems may include:

  • Redness of the eye whites, visible blood vessels
  • Redness of the area around the eyes
  • Frequent blinking
  • Resistance when exposed to light; the dog will be closing his eyes or squinting when exposed to powerful light
  • Pawing the eye area
  • Vision problems, resulting in bumping into things
  • A cloudy pellicle covering the eyes
  • Discharges from the eyes
  • Constant tearing

The dog may not display all these symptoms, depending on what causes the eye irritation.

Red Eye Problems Diagnosis

The red eye problems will be diagnosed judging by a number of symptoms and by running a few tests.

Firstly, the dog will be examined by an ophthalmologist, who will inspect the eyes. The tear production as well as the pressure in the eye will be measured. Tissue scrapings can help the vet detect the nature of a possible infection.

If there are tumors around the eye, a biopsy will be performed.

Blood tests will be needed if the vet suspects a systemic disease.

Treatment Options for Dog Eye Problems

The treatment will be prescribed according to the findings of the eye exam and the results of the other tests.

The treatment will focus on reducing the inflammation and the irritation and treating the underlying condition.

The inflammation and the irritation can be eliminated with:

  • Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs
  • Topical anti inflammatory creams or eye drops
  • Steroids or topical ointments
  • Saline eye drops

Antibiotics or topical solutions containing antibiotics will be administered if the diagnosis indicates the dog has an eye infection.

Fungicides (oral or topical) can be prescribed, if the infection is caused by fungi such as yeast cells.

Antihistamines or allergy injections will be recommended if the red eyes are caused by an allergen.

The dog may also get an Elizabethan collar, which will prevent him from rubbing or pawing his eyes, as this action can increase the irritation.