Recent research suggests that when humans and dogs gaze into each other’s eyes, the hormone Oxytocin is released.* It is the same hormone that is released when parents gaze into their infant’s eyes. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone that is associated with building trust and social bonds.
In addition, just by gazing into your dog’s eyes you can tell if it is having an eye condition or disease that could affect its vision or even cause permanent blindness. There are many types of eye conditions in dogs that could infringe on your best friend’s quality of life. However, the four listed below are most likely to occur during your dog’s life span.
The list below is meant as a useful guide to identifying the more commonly found eye problems in dogs. It is strongly suggested that if you find something wrong with your dog’s eyes that you should take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
1. Conjunctivitis (or pink eye) – basically, it is an itchy inflammation of the conjunctiva (the tissue that coats the eye). It is pretty common for dogs to develop pink eye. It can occur at any stage in dog’s life. While conjunctivitis typically affects one eye it can spread to both.
How can you tell if your dog has pink eye? Look for redness of the eyes, puffy eyelids, watery eyes, eyes sticking together, or stringy discharge.
What causes pink eye in dogs? The common culprits for conjunctivitis in dogs are allergens, viruses or bacteria.
Ways to treat conjunctivitis: apply a cold compress, artificial tears, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or steroid eye drops.
2. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (or dry eye) – is when your dog’s eyes produce an insufficient amount of tears. This is one condition that cannot be taken lightly. If left untreated dry eye can lead to blindness.
How can you tell if your dog is suffering from dry eye? Only a veterinarian can accurately diagnose your dog for kertoconjunctivitis sicca. However, there are some signs your dog may have this blinding ailment. You might notice that your best friend is blinking excessively, its conjunctival blood vessels may appear swollen; there is a pus or mucus discharge from the afflicted eye.
What causes Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in dogs? Insufficient tear production in dogs can occur due to a number of causes. Some of the more typical causes are infections, immune disorders, medications and even general anesthesia.
How is dry eye treated? In most cases, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca can be treated on an outpatient basis. Most treatments require the application of topical solutions such as artificial-tear medications, and lubricants to make-up for your dog’s lack of tears. It is highly recommend that you wash your four-legged friend’s eyes first before applying the medications.
For Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, your veterinarian might recommend Puralube Vet Ointment
3. Eyelid Protrusion (prolapsed gland of the third eyelid or cherry eye) – this condition is prevalent in small dogs. It is when the third eyelid’s gland starts to protrude.
How do you know if your dog has cherry eye? If you look into your dog’s eyes and notice an oval mass protruding from its third eyelid, it most likely has cherry eye. However, it is best to have a veterinarian examine your four-legged friend.
What causes eyelid protrusion? Cherry eye is usually caused by a congenital weakness of gland’s attachment in the dog’s eye. Although rather unsightly, this condition rarely causes damage to the eye or discomfort to your dog.
How is cherry eye treated? In most cases, the gland is either surgically replaced or removed entirely in the case of a severe condition. In some cases your veterinarian might recommend the application of a topical anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling.
4. Cataracts – A cataract is opacity in the lens of the dog’s eye. This could cause him to have blurred vision. Small cataracts should not bother your four-legged friend too much. However, they need to be monitored because as the cataracts become thicker and denser they will eventually lead to blindness.
What are the signs of cataracts in dogs? If when you look into your best friend’s eyes and they appear cloudy or bluish-gray, you should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible for a check-up. While it might not be cataracts, it is better to be safe than sorry.
What causes cataracts in dogs? There are many reasons why your dog may develop cataracts. Most common causes are from disease, old age, trauma to the eye and even genetics. In some cases, reoccurring cataracts might be caused by diabetes.
How are cataracts in dogs treated? Cataracts are treated through surgery.
*Source: “How Dogs Stole Our Hearts” http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/04/how-dogs-stole-our-hearts Accessed on 2/1916