Animal health: keep an eye on your pet’s eyes

Constant eye discharge, redness, localized itching, eyes closed, pain, apathy … Attention! Your pet may have one of the eye diseases that affects dogs and cats more, or worse, these clinical symptoms could be secondary to more serious diseases, from infectious diseases like tuberculosis and leishmaniasis to systemic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. and tumors.

Check what they are and how to recognize the most common eye diseases:

dry keratoconjunctivitis

Also known as dry eye disease, it is, as the name says, a disease characterized by decreased production of tears in animals, especially dogs. It should be noted that in addition to moisturizing, tears take care of the eye’s immunity, and dehydration can open the door to infections and foreign bodies, such as dust, pollen, and hair.

At first, it can be difficult to determine if your dog has keratoconjunctivitis sicca because the cause is usually due to an infection that causes an overreaction in the body and inflammation of the tear glands. However, dry eyes can be one of the clinical manifestations of more serious problems, alerted the veterinarian, ophthalmology graduate and general practitioner to the Veros Veterinário Guilherme Ferreira da Silva Tamaki hospital team.

Tuberculosis virus and leishmaniasis are examples of systemic diseases that can cause infection of the glands. According to Guilherme, dry eyes can also be a sign of diabetes, which affects not only the quantity of tears, but their quality. “It’s a bad tear,” he explains.

Because it is an immune-mediated disease (a reaction of the body itself), it is difficult to prevent dry keratoconjunctivitis. Therefore, it is very important for the teacher to look for a veterinarian, preferably an ophthalmologist, as soon as he notices the first clinical manifestations in the animal: increased secretion, redness, a half-open eye, a lot of itching. Region.

Treatment is simple, in most cases, with moisturizing, anti-inflammatory or antibiotic eye drops. The patient may also receive an immune system to control inflammation and restore the ability of the tear glands to produce. It is always a good idea to stress that keeping your pet’s vaccination record up-to-date is the best way to prevent most of the infectious diseases that can cause keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

corneal ulcer

It is an injury, an open wound in the most superficial or deep layers of the eye, caused by some trauma from scratches with the nail itself while scratching or biting while playing with other animals, “burrs” with furniture or other objects and even the most prominent eyelash hairs that “puncture” the eye . The lack of lubrication caused by keratoconjunctivitis can develop into a corneal ulcer.

The wound causes so much pain to the animal that it finds it difficult to open its eyes, especially in bright environments, and it can be taken in by apathy and lack of appetite. The lesion is not always visible, even to the most careful teachers, and only a vet can make an accurate diagnosis by applying eye drops that confirm the affected area.

Since the trauma to corneal ulcers usually comes from activities typical of animals, the ideal is to maintain a regular routine of medical evaluation. “The best prevention is to take the pet regularly to the ophthalmologist so that he can detect if there is any kind of ulcer or other eye disease,” Tamaki asserts.

Once the lesion is detected, the initial treatment includes prescribing moisturizing eye drops with antibiotics, to avoid possible infection in the wound, analgesics to relieve pain (in the form of eye or oral drops) and the application of an Elizabethan (cervical) collar, to prevent the animal from scratching your eyes. If none of these procedures work, your vet may opt for surgery.


The main concern when diagnosing uveitis is that it is a secondary disease. This means that inflammation of the blood vessels that nourishes the animal’s eye from the inside is a possible manifestation of a large number of systemic diseases: the aforementioned tuberculosis, tick disease, various parasites, leptospirosis, hormonal (eg diabetes) and chronic diseases. Kidney disease (in elderly animals), pyometra (inflammation of the uterus) and other infections (including dental) and hypertension. Or the eye diseases themselves, such as cataracts, corneal ulcers, and, in more serious cases, lymphomas or tumors in any part of the body, not necessarily in the eye or head.

In practice, uveitis is not a disease in itself, but an alert that the animal has another disease. Therefore, educators should be aware of the most common signs: half-open eyes, darkening of the iris (the colored part of the eye) and redness (bleeding inside the eye). When diagnosing uveitis, the vet’s first action is a medical examination to check the root cause of the problem. In parallel, eye drops and anti-inflammatories can be administered to reduce the animal’s discomfort.

If you suspect these and other less common eye diseases, always consult your pet’s vet. It is the best professional to advise on vaccination schedule, prevention, treatment and other health care of animal.

About Guilherme Ferreira da Silva Tamaki

Guilherme Ferreira da Silva Tamaki is a veterinarian on the emergency room team at Veros Veterinário Hospital. Graduated from Paulista University (2017) and Graduated in Veterinary Ophthalmology from Instituto Qualitas, he has extensive experience in small animal medical clinic.

Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pixels

About Veros

Veros Veterinary Hospital is the largest animal health hospital complex in the country. With an investment of R$50 million, the unit has the capacity to perform about 2,000 consultations and 700 surgeries per month, in addition to keeping patients in critical condition on mechanical ventilation. The Diagnostic Imaging Center is the most complete in the country, with the latest versions of RX machines, echo and ultrasound machines, 1.5 Tesla MRIs, 16-channel CT and surgical arc equipment.


Address: Av. Brigadier General Luis Antonio 4643 Jardim Paulista – São Paulo, SP.
Working hours: 24 hours
Booking appointments and exams: 3900-7000 or 94245-3421

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