The friendship between human and dog has been a great benefit to both species over the course of thousands of years. Due to this long, symbiotic relationship and through the use of Human selective breeding; both species have established a loose but useful way of communicating through body language.
Pet owners can tell quite a lot about their canine companion’s mood, intentions and health just by looking at their eyes and your pet can read you in a similar way (which is why they tend to make eye contact). From just the way they hold their eyes, you can tell if they’re excited, down, aggressive or if they want something in particular and of course you can tell much more than just those examples!
If you notice that the appearances of your pet’s eyes are going cloudy, you’re most likely to first assume that they are developing cataracts. Cataracts are not a condition in itself but a symptom of other possible harmful conditions. Lenticular sclerosis, on the other hand, is another cause of cloudy eyes and this can be mistaken for cataracts, so be aware!
Be sure to take your dog down to the vet to get them checked out right away and read on so you can get to know what could possibly be causing the cloudy eyes and to get some information behind it.
Lenticular Sclerosis in Dogs
Lenticular sclerosis, also known as nuclear sclerosis, is a condition that is most associated with a dog that is aging. It is considered a harmless, benign condition which causes a blueish, transparent haze on the eye that is just the result of a dog growing older.
It’s not known to affect vision to a severe effect and does not affect the ability of light being able to pass through the lens into the retina like cataracts do. It typically affects both eyes at the same time and appears as a symmetrical, even and round opacity in the center of the lens of both eyes.
A vet will use an ophthalmoscope to diagnose this condition relatively easily, unfortunately, there is no treatment for it but there is also nothing to worry about and is not causing your pet any harm.
Causes of Lenticular Sclerosis in Dogs
It is not widely understood as to why this condition forms but is thought that it is a result of a hardening of the lens due to an abnormal production of protein fibers that compose the lens.
Cataracts in Dogs
Just like people, dogs can develop cataracts which are an abnormality of the lens in the eye that develops progressively over time and could be a cause for concern, depending on the underlying issue.
The function of the lens is to focus the light received from the environment onto the retina which is at the back of the eye; the signal is then processed by the brain to create visual images of the environment.
The lens is primarily composed of water and proteins arranged in a fiber-like structure, and it’s an abnormal formation of the proteins which contribute to creating cataracts. The proteins begin to clump and string together which over time inhibit the function of the lens and obscure the visual image produced. It’s the congregation of these rogue proteins that cause the cloudiness in the eyes.
Causes of Cataracts in Dogs
In the vast majority of cases, cataracts that occur in dogs are inherited and will have been noticeable early on in their life. Other than that, the other causes of cataracts are as follows:
- Old age
- Diabetes mellitus
- Uveitis (inflammation of the uvea)
- Toxic substance exposure
- Very low blood calcium
Uveitis in Dogs
The uvea is the darker tissue in the front of the eye that contains most of the blood vessels. Uveitis is an inflammation present in this location usually due to an infection of sorts; a condition that can be particularly painful and is a threat to your dog’s vision.
You can detect this condition through there being redness in the eye, excessive tear production, puss or discharge, uneven pupils, cloudy appearance of the eye and squinting. The vet will diagnose this condition by taking a blood count and using an ophthalmoscope to check out the interior structure of the eye.
As well as eyedrops and anti-inflammatories, more specific treatments can be prescribed depending on the cause. Even over the counter dog deworming tablets can help if a parasitic worm is the root cause.
Causes of Uveitis in Dogs
There can be many causes to uveitis, most commonly being bacterial, fungal, parasitic or viral infections:
- Autoimmune disease
- Metabolic disease
- Lens protein entering the uvea
KCS in Dogs
KCS stands for Keratoconjunctivitis sicca and is otherwise referred to as “dry eye”. It’s an issue with the tear ducts of your dog and their ability to produce tears properly which are used to lubricate the eye resulting in inflammation of the cornea. This can occur in one or both eyes.
As benign as the name dry eye sounds it’s actually quite a nasty condition which causes pain, scarring, ulceration, and blindness if it’s not treated quickly. You can notice this condition from the onset if you notice one or both of your dog’s eyes became glassy, or milky in appearance. The dog also exhibits excessive blinking, mucosal discharge from the eye and swelling around the eyelids.
Causes of KCS in Dogs
There are many possible underlying causes of KCS, in some breeds, it is congenital, namely the Yorkshire terrier and pug but otherwise, these are also some other possible causes:
- Neurogenic disease
- Chlamydia conjunctivitis
- Chronic blepharoconjunctivitis
- Drug induced
- X-ray induced
Glaucoma in Dogs
Glaucoma is an increase in corneal fluid in the eyeball causing it to swell, sometimes to quite an abnormally large size that it pressed onto the optic nerve causing blindness. Glaucoma is often associated with diabetes and can be present in humans too but there are multiple underlying causes.
It can be quite a painful condition and so must be treated as soon as possible for the sake of your dog’s comfort; it can also cause the eye to become cloudy and you might even notice it received into the head. The eye must be drained periodically to manage the condition whilst the underlying problem is being diagnosed or treated.
Causes of Glaucoma in Dogs
- Eye tissue inflammation
- Abnormal eye filtration
- Lens luxation
If you notice your dog’s eyes becoming cloudy in their loving stare, don’t jump to conclusions assuming its nuclear sclerosis or cataracts! Take a closer look and see if any other symptoms are present and make sure to take your dog to the vets because after all, their ability to see is at risk with the presence of these diseases and conditions.
A lot of the time, your dog can have pain and discomfort relieved by vet treatment and most importantly of all, has their vision saved which will ensure them a happier life in the long run.