Eye Ailments

Your dog's eyes are very vulnerable to disease, parasites and injury. Weeping and inflamed eyes are common symptoms in many dog diseases, including the Big Four—distemper, rabies, hepatitis and leptospirosis. But your dog's eyes may weep, become inflamed or ulcerated from causes other than disease. Country dogs often get small seeds, bits of grass and other foreign objects in their eyes. They also get whipped across the eyes by brush or weeds. The city dog is often exposed to smoke, fumes, coal dust and chemical irritants that affect his eyes. All of these factors can contribute to acute or chronic eye ailments.

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and the front part of the eyeballs. It is marked by redness, weeping and sensitivity to light (photophobia).

If the condition is caused by a foreign object in the eye, remove it by using the twisted corner of a clean handkerchief. Next, wash the eye with warm water. Use an eyedropper and place a few drops of water in the corner of the eye. When the dog blinks, the water will wash over the eyeball. An eye ointment, such as butyne sulfate or mercuric oxide, will help ease the dog's pain. Again, place a small amount of the eye ointment in the corner of the dog's eye and let him blink it over the eyeball. If the inflammation persists for more than a day or two, consult your veterinarian.

Keratitis

There are two forms of keratitis: 1) a simple inflammation of the cornea, and 2) an ulceration of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent part of the eyeball coat which protects the iris and pupil. In simple inflammation of the cornea, the affected part is red and the eye waters. A photophobia may be present. In the ulcerative type of keratitis, small craters or depressions may be visible on the cornea. There may also be a bluish-white clouding of the eye. You will recall that this is also a symptom of hepatitis. (See Chapter 12)

You can give the dog some relief by applying eye ointment. Keep him out of direct sunlight or brightly lit rooms. The ulcerative form of keratitis should receive veterinary attention. Simple inflammation of the cornea can be treated by applying eye ointment. However, if the inflammation persists, take the dog to the veterinarian.

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