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Tierarztpraxis Franz

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Tierarztpraxis Franz

The visual sense in animals is often underestimated by humans. But the eyes of your sweethart need special care too. So guard the eyesight of your darling “as the apple of your eye“ and look out for eye deseases!

Anatomy of the eye

The eyes of cats and dogs have a very complex structure, just like in humans. The main structures of the visual organ are:

  • the cornea,
  • the anterior chamber of the eye,
  • the iris (iris),
  • the lens,
  • the ciliary body,
  • the vitreous body,
  • the retina (retina)
  • and the optic nerve

Signs of eye diseases

You should see the vet as soon as you become aware of any eye problems and get your pet thoroughly examined. A complete eye examination of course includes an assessment of the area around the eye too. Sometimes the tear-nose canal and the eyelids can clearly show typical breed diseases (like a nose that is too short, a lid gap that is too wide, a curled edge of the eyelid, hair that grows incorrectly, etc).

The eyes of your darling should be neither reddened nor bleared and free of discharge. If your pet is often blinking and squinching her eyes shut, it can be an expression of pain. In this case you should visit a vet immediatly.

If foreign matter perforate the cornea of your pet’s eye, it may injure it badly.  Quick medical help is needed.  An eye that swells strongly or even falls out is an absolute emergency and must be treated instantly by professional help.

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Examination techniques and diagnosis

The previously mentioned organ structures are examined with special techniques and medical equipment (an otoscope lamp and a slit lamp). The intraocular pressure is determined by an eye pressure measuring device.

If you notice that your darling has an enlarged eye and/or severely red vessels on the white part of the eye (the sclera), the intraocular pressure may be too high. This can be very painful and dangerous for your darling. The high pressure can even lead to blindness in dogs and cats both within a short time, because it destroys the receptors in the retina. Corneal ulcers is also a common eye desease in cats and dogs. Their causes can be infectious (bacteria and viruses) or mechanical (rubbing the eyes or claw injuries).

A close look at the eye

If a disease is suspected, the veterinarian examines the individual structures of the visual organ specifically:

  • The cornea is examined for shine, smoothness of the surface and transparency..
  • The iris is examined for its reaction to light (dilation and narrowing of the pupil). Attention is also paid to pigment spots and other abnormalities.
  • The lens is examined for localisation and opacity (For this purpose, the pupil must be temporarily dilated by a special medication).
  • The vitreous body is checked mainly for the contents (blood).
  • The retina is tested for its function.

Furthermore, a rigorous eye examination includes an nerve conduction reaction test. The connecting nerve pathways between the brain and the eye are examined through a reflex test (the reflex closes the eyelids in case of imminent danger).

Quick help and therapy

Depending on the clinical picture, the therapy has either a conservative (medicinal) or an surgical approach.

A large number of diseases occur spontaneously, many others are genetically anchored in various breeds. Therefore, special tests are offered according to breed, which both parents and puppies have to undergo. If the results on a eye examination are positive (positive in medicine always means: there is something wrong), breeding with these animals may not be continued. This fact should be considered when choosing the breed.

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The importance of the visual sense and the consequences of eye deseases is often underestimated in dogs and cats. Pay always close attention to your treasures health, in case of doubt get your fourlegged friend examined as soon as possible. In this way you can spare your darling unnecessary pain and save yourself high treatment costs