In most cases, early diagnosis and treatment can keep an animal from losing its eyesight, but it's important to look for signs of trouble and ensure your pet gets regular check-ups.
Cats and dogs can develop a variety of maladies associated with the eyes and surrounding structures. Below is an overview of some of the issues that can arise in our cats and dogs eyes as well as how we as pet owners can identify if there is a problem.
As is true for virtually all threats to pet health, the earlier a cat or dog’s vision problem is diagnosed, the more effectively it can be treated. Our vets urge owners to keep an eye out for any behavioral or physical indications that your pet is having a vision problem and to report any such signs to a veterinarian without delay.
Here are the Basics:
Overall, cat and dog eyes function in the same way that human eyes function and are made up of some similar components. The major structural and functional components include:
Pupil- the circular membrane in the center of the eye that permits the entry of light from the environment;
Iris- the round, colored membrane that surrounds the pupil and contracts or expands to regulate the amount of incoming light;
Lens- a transparent structure that adjusts its shape as needed to focus the light rays;
Cornea- the transparent outer covering of the eyeball;
Retina- a sensitive membrane that lines the interior surface of the eyeball, receives the focused light impulses that have entered through the lens, and sends them along to the brain, as visual information;
Optic nerve- the conduit leading from the retina to the brain.
While structurally similar in most respects to human eyes, feline and canine eyes have acquired over thousands of years a number of features that improve its chances for survival as both predator and prey. Among these features is a third eyelid, a thin, pale membrane between the lower eyelid and the eyeball. This extra eyelid helps keep the surface of their eyeball moist, protects it from being scratched by erratically growing hairs, and can help shield it during a fight.
It should be fairly obvious if your cat or dog is experiencing an issue with its eyes. Common symptoms of eye problems include:
- Rubbing the eye
- Avoiding light
- Bulging eyes
- Closed or squinty eyes
- Excess tearing
- Rubbing the face on the ground (dog)
- Bumping into furniture, being wary of jumping down off chairs or beds
Cats and dogs are subject to a host of diseases that can cause permanent damage to any or all of the eye’s components.
These disorders include
Cataracts- in which the lens gradually clouds up, often impenetrably, and prevents light from entering the eye.
Glaucoma- a condition marked by excessive fluid pressure within the eyeball that can cause it to harden.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy- in which the retinal tissue degenerates and loses its ability to function properly.
A variety of tumors- either malignant or benign, that develop within the eye or adjacent to it.
One of the most frequently diagnosed eye disorders is conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva—the mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and the outer surface of the eyeball. This is a highly contagious condition. The disorder’s clearest symptom is runny eyes, and it is readily curable if treated promptly.
If you are concerned about your pets eye health and have any questions we are always here to help. Feel free to Contact us for a chat, or to book an appointment.
Tags: Pet, Cat, Vet, Pet care, Veterinary Medicine, Dog, Pet and Vet, Eyes, Disease, Pet Health