Corneal ulcers in dogs

While we all want our pets to be their best selves, sometimes health issues can arise. At Animal Eye Associates in Orlando, we’ve helped thousands of pets recover from eye conditions, and we’re passionate about ensuring your pet’s vision and ocular comfort are manageable. A common eye condition we treat in dogs is corneal ulcers, and our veterinary ophthalmologists are well versed in the best treatments for this condition. In this blog, we’re going to take a closer look at this eye condition, as well as information on how it is diagnosed.

If you live in Orlando and you’re in need of an experienced animal eye doctor, contact our friendly staff today.

Canine Corneal Ulcers

Before we get into the nitty gritty of canine corneal ulcers, let’s discuss what the cornea is first. The cornea is the transparent and shiny membrane that makes up the front of your dog’s eyeball. To visualize this easier, think of the cornea as a clear windowpane. Within the cornea, there are three main layers, including:

  • The epithelium – this is a very thin layer of cells on the eye.
  • The stroma – this is the main supportive tissue that can be found in the cornea.
  • The descemet’s membrane – this is the deepest layer of our cornea.

When erosion occurs on a few layers of the epithelium, it is known as corneal erosion or abrasion. During a corneal ulcer, a deeper erosion occurs throughout the entire epithelium, which spreads to the stroma. This type of ulcer is most often identified because fluid is absorbed in the stroma, which can give the eye a cloudy appearance.

What Are Symptoms of Corneal Ulcers?

If you’re concerned your dog may be suffering from a corneal ulcer, there are a few symptoms to be aware of, including:

  • Your dog’s eyes are more watery than normal
  • Your dog has started to squint a lot
  • Your dog experiences sensitivity to light
  • There is discharge coming from your dog’s injured eye
  • Your dog’s eye appears red and painful

How Do Corneal Ulcers Occur?

If you’re wondering how corneal ulcers occur in our canine friends, you’ve come to the right place. There are several different causes of these ulcers in dogs, but the most common cause is trauma. Most corneal ulcers occur as a result of blunt trauma, which can happen if your dog rubs his or her eye on the carpet or their eye comes in contact with a sharp object (like a cat claw). Some dogs get these ulcers when an irritating chemical or substance gets in their eye.

A corneal ulcer can be very painful for your dog, so it’s important to take them to a local ophthalmologist if you think something may be wrong with their eye. Superficial corneal abrasions are normally difficult to identify without special tests and veterinary equipment. Corneal ulcers are most often detected with the use of special stains like fluorescein. When a drop of this stain is placed on your dog’s cornea, the dye will eventually turn green and adhere to areas of ulceration.

How Are Corneal Ulcers Treated?

The treatment of your canine’s corneal ulcer will depend on a few things. There are different treatment options available, and your veterinarian will be able to help you choose the best option for your pup.

  • Corneal Abrasions – these eye issues normally heal within 3 to 5 days, and medication may be prescribed to prevent bacterial infections and relieve pain. Your vet may recommend antibiotic drops, but these are only effective for a short time. Ointments tend to last longer, but they do require new applications every few hours.
  • Corneal Ulcers – if a corneal ulcer is present, certain steps must be taken to encourage healing. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove dead or poorly healing layers of the corneal tissue.

Animal Eye Associates: Your Orlando Veterinary Ophthalmologists

If you live in the Orlando area and you’re in need of an experienced veterinary ophthalmologist, contact Animal Eye Associates today. We offer pet eye exams, diagnostic testing, and surgery when necessary, and we’ll do everything we can to properly treat your pet’s eye issues. When you bring your dog or cat to our Maitland or Waterford Lake offices, you can rest assured your beloved pet is in good hands.