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How to Recognize and Treat Strabismus in Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

A dog owner may become alarmed when his canine’s eyes turn in different directions. This condition is called strabismus and is typically caused by a muscle or nerve issue. Strabismus can affect dogs of all ages but often occurs at birth. Although in most cases this condition isn’t life threatening, sometimes there’s an underlying cause that’s serious. Here’s how to recognize and treat strabismus in dogs.

Evaluate your dog for symptoms of strabismus. A dog that experiences this condition will have eyes that don’t point in the same direction. He may also appear lethargic and have a decreased appetite.

Take your dog to the animal hospital. Contact the vet and advise of your arrival. It’s important to not waste any time in case there’s an underlying nerve issue causing the problem. Keep your dog as calm and relaxed as possible by speaking in a soothing voice.

Design a treatment plan with your vet. If your canine has a muscle issue, his condition may just need monitoring. However, if your dog has a more serious issue like a tumor, surgery may be required.

Monitor your dog closely. When you bring your canine home, monitor his symptoms closely. If his symptoms become worse or he becomes dizzy and has fainting spells, contact your vet immediately.

Keep stress to a minimum. While your canine is recovering it’s important to keep stress to a minimum. Keep other animals and small children at bay until your canine is feeling better. In the future pay attention to what causes your canine's stress and minimize his exposure.


  • Limit exercise while your canine is recovering. Keeping your dog on a leash during bathroom breaks can help cut down on excess roaming.


  • A dog that experiences strabismus later in life needs immediate attention. Developing this condition later in life is more of a concern. If it’s the weekend, transport your canine to an animal emergency hospital for an exam.