Corneal ulcers in dogs: what you need to know

Treatment, symptoms and causes of corneal ulcers in dogs

Does your dog’s is eye looks reddish and watery all the time? Is he also showing sensitivity to light? If you see these symptoms with your dog, then he might be suffering from a condition called corneal ulcer. With this article, we are going to dig deep into the symptoms, causes and treatment for corneal ulcers in dogs.

What is a corneal ulcer?

It is important to be aware of the structural anatomy of a dog’s eye to understand cornel ulcer better. The eye of the dog consists of three layers, the outermost layer epithelium, the innermost layer descemet’s membrane and the middle layer stroma. Corneal ulcer in dogs starts with the erosion of epithelium and this condition is called as corneal erosion or corneal abrasion. As the erosion progresses to the stroma the condition elevates to corneal ulcer. Furthermore, a deeper erosion of the entire stroma through to the descemet’s membrane is a serious condition and known by the name descemetocele. This condition is considered to be a bit severe as the next possible stage is the descemet’s membrane rupture, which can cause eyeball liquid to leak and even lead to vision loss.

How to diagnose dog corneal ulcers?

Corneal ulcers at the starting stage are hard to detect, this is why it is highly recommended to take your dog to a veterinary care for an eye checkup at least once a month. A veterinarian usually performs a fluorescein test to diagnose the condition, with the test, the fluorescein stain is put on the dog’s eye and the stain adheres to the ulceration.

The following symptoms exhibited by dogs can point to corneal ulcer:

  • Watery eye with constant discharge
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Inflamed eyes
  • Squinting
  • Constant attempt to rub eye with paws

What causes corneal ulcers?

8 out of 10 dogs experiences corneal ulcers from trauma.  Eye of the dog getting poked by a sharp object or scratch to the eye caused by a fight with another dog or a cat etc can lead to this condition. Tear deficiency, infection and chemical exposure like shampoo getting into the eye during bath etc can also cause corneal ulcer in dogs.

How to treat corneal ulcers in dogs?

The treatment options for corneal ulcer in dogs vary with respect to the respective stages like corneal erosion, ulcer or descemetocele.

As the corneal erosion is just only a starting stage, it can be easily treated with some medications that are tailored to hinder bacterial infections. The condition can be treated within a week.

The corneal ulcer and descemetocele is the severe condition that requires some advanced treatment method like surgery. The layers of the eye that are affected by the condition and that show poor response to healing or that is already dead are removed via surgery. Veterinarians also use the surgery to perform corneal graft if the condition seems to be a tad serious.

Corneal ulcer in dogs is a really painful condition. The intense pain compels your dog to constantly rub his eye with paws or act distracted. If you see any of these symptoms with your dog, do not hesitate to take him to a veterinarian immediately.