Veterinarians often examine dogs affected by eye disorders and mange. Both of these conditions are common ailments for dogs. Eye conditions stem from many factors both genetic and infection oriented. Mange is a common skin condition in dogs caused by mites. Mange and some eye conditions in dogs are easily diagnosed and treated by veterinarians. Treatable eye conditions include inflammation, corneal scratches and cherry eye. Eye conditions that are difficult to treat are cataracts and glaucoma.
Demodex mange is caused by microscopic mites that breed and multiply under the dog’s skin. It does not spread from one dog to another. It does not cause much itching to the dog but does cause fur loss. The problem with demodex mange is not only hair loss but the condition often leads to skin infections that become raw, pus filled and itchy. Demodex mange usually appears in dogs from four months old to one and a half years old.
Sarcoptic mange is also caused by mites that burrow under the dog’s skin. This type of mange is highly contagious from one dog to the next. The mites lay eggs under the skin causing severe discomfort and itching to the dog. The dog’s skin becomes bloody and raw from both the burrowing mites and the dog's constant scratching. A veterinarian can confirm if the dog has mange or an allergy. Many pet owners mistake allergies for mange.
Dog Eye Inflammation
Eye inflammation in dogs comes from several conditions. The veterinarian examines the dog’s eye to determine if the inflammation is the result of parasites like hook worms or ringworms. Eye inflammation also results from conjunctivitis or scratches to the cornea. Most eye inflammations are treated with a topical salve or eye drops for a week or so.
Cherry Eye in dogs looks like a red lump and occurs when the tear ducts become swollen. It is also known as a third eyelid. A dog suffering from Cherry Eye has a continuous discharge from the eye and eventually leads to dry eye. Surgery is necessary to correct the condition; the veterinarian moves the tear gland to the correct position.
Dog cataract occurs when the lens of the eye becomes a cloudy white color. The condition is a slow progressing eye disorder that leads to blindness in the dog. Most dog cataracts begin in elderly dogs with other conditions like diabetes or eye injuries. Some dog cataracts are genetic and present at birth.
The only treatment for dog cataract is surgical removal of the eye lens. Dogs that have cataracts due to old age or diabetes are not usually accepted for surgery because of their deteriorating health.
Glaucoma is a common eye condition in dogs. Glaucoma occurs when the fluid pressure inside the dog’s eye increases and causes severe damage to the inside of the eyeball, especially to the optic nerve and the retina. Glaucoma must be treated by a veterinarian immediately or blindness results.
Symptoms of dog glaucoma include pain, dilated pupil, noticeable blood vessels in the white of the eye, or a protruding eye. Treatment to reduce the pressure in the dog’s eye is usually taken orally and topical medication applied at least three times per day. Surgery is another treatment wherein a laser destroys certain cells that are causing pressure to build in the eye, or tubes are inserted to alleviate pressure.
The other option to reduce the dog’s pain is to have the eyeball removed and replaced with a silicone ball.
Dog image by Westy;] from Fotolia.com
Karen Curley has more than 18 years experience in health and nutrition, specializing in healthy food choices for families. She received USDA certification in food components, nutrient sources, food groups and infant/child nutrition, and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts. Curley is also an avid gardener, home renovator, Collie breeder, dog groomer and dog trainer.