Brachycephalic dog breeds are renowned for both the wrong and right reasons. While these dogs are popular among pet lovers, ironically, they face several issues that demand constant attention from their owners. The oculofacial condition in such dog breeds leaves them with a disproportionate or deformed skull. As a result, these dog breeds are characterised by short jaw and nose. Additionally, comparatively thinner bony orbits leave them with bulging eyes and several associated vision defects. Let us dig deep into some of the vision defects faced by brachycephalic dogs.
Most of the short-snubbed dogs’, especially English bulldogs and pugs are affected by the condition called dry eye or deficiency of tears. The condition, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) is caused due to immune related disease. The deficiency of tears leads to several problems like ulcers, corneal inflammation etc. The dry eyes condition in brachycephalic dogs is also characterised by a discharge of high viscosity fluid that leads to reddening of eye, scratches and even loss of vision if untreated.
Topical cyclosporine is one of the ideal solutions to dry eye in flat-faced dogs. Topical cyclosporine induces tear formation and helps to keep the dry eye condition under check.
Pigmentary keratitis in brachycephalic dogs is a condition that is characterised by the accumulation of the corneal pigment which leads to the transformation of their cornea from transparent to opaque. The corneal scarring and chronic accumulation can be listed as the main causes for pigmentary keratitis. Pigmentary keratitis can also be mirrored as a superior version of KCS, as on most of the cases, KCS uncontrolled for prolonged duration leads to pigmentary keratitis.
The treatment for pigmentary keratitis ranges from eye drops to surgical. The focus of the treatment methods revolves around improving the corneal health.
Brachycephalic dogs are highly vulnerable to ocular trauma due to the lack of eye protection. Severe head trauma can cause eye displacement in almost all the dog breeds, however, with brachycephalic dog breeds; even a minor trauma can induce eye dislocation or ocular trauma. Some general causes of ocular trauma in brachycephalic dogs are cross breed fights with bigger dogs, facial or head trauma during playing, road accidents. The shallow ocular orbit is the main reason that contributes to this type of vision defect in brachycephalic dogs. Some of the general symptoms of eye dislocation in dogs are the inability to close the eyelids completely, abnormal protrusion of the eye balls, bleeding eyes etc.
Surgery is the prime solution to ocular trauma in brachycephalic dog breeds.
Regular normal eye checkup and a professional eye checkup at least once a month is an ideal way to ensure optimum vision health for your brachycephalic dog. It is imperative to provide urgent medical care to your dog upon noticing any of the defects related to vision listed above. Immediate and professional care can turn out to be crucial in most of the cases.