Canine Eye Injuries & Diseases



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Husky Blue Eyes

This portion of the website is devoted to canine eye injuries and disease. These are graphic images of the canid. Please be aware of this as you visit this portion of the site.

chalazion in the dog




Chalazion is a blockage of the oily secretion from the Meibomian gland. These secretins leak into the surrounding eyelid tissues. This results in a granulomatous inflammatory response. It presents as a firm, yellow-gray mass. It is painless. Conventional treatment calls for surgical curettage through the conjunctiva and a round of antibiotics.




Pink eye in the dog

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is inflammation of the conjunctiva. The blood vessels of the eyes become dilated. The conjunctive is the the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. Infections viral, bacteria, and parasitic are primarily cause although pink eye can result from an allergic reaction. It can affect either eye or both. The eyelids stick together. This is a contagious condition, transmitted through contact with the eye discharge. It usually resolves on its own. Conjunctivitis is a secondary condition to bacterial infections. When conjunctivitis is caused by allergies it presents as chronic follicular conjunctivitis or plasma cell conjunctivis. Follicular conjunctivitis is treated by corticosteroids. If it is acute it may result in ocular discharge and chemosis (swelling.) When it is chronic hyperemia (excessive blood in the vessels) and a mucoid discharge are present. Topical corticosteroid treatment is usually ineffective. Plasma cell conjunctivitis gives a thickened. cobblestone look to the surface of the nictitating membrane. It occurs mainly in German shepherd dogs. It is treated with topical corticosteroids and cyclosporine. It is not curable. When foreign bodies become trapped behind the nictitating membrane conjunctival inflammation may occur. The foreigh body must be removed and the condition treated with broad spectrum antibiotics.



Third Eyelid in the dog

Abnormalities of the Nictitating Membrane or Third Eyelid




The third eyelid (nictitating membrane) does not move. The third eye moves when the eyeball is retracted into the orbit. This causes displacement of orbital fat and protrusion of the third eyelid. The third eyelid is retracted by sympathetic innervation.

third eyelid in the dog


Congenital Abnormalities

Encircling third eyelid of the American Cocker Spaniel

1. An encircling third eyelid is considered normal in the American Cocker spaniel.

Eversion of the cartilage of the third eyelid of the dog

2. The eversion or inversion of of the cartilage of the third eyelid occurs most often in the Irish Wolfhound, St. Bernard, German Shorthaired pointer, and the Great Dane. This results in the inward and outward rolling of the third eyelid. This results in decreased function and chronic irritation and epiphora, which is the blockage of the tear flow through the nasolacrimal system resulting tears overflowing from the eyes. Treatment is the removal of the rolling cartilage.


Acquired Abnormalities

1. Cherry Eye (See page two of the eye disease and injury section.)

Protrusion of the third eyelid in the dog

2. Protrusion of the third eyelid may occur from any of the following conditions: a mass which occupates space within the orbit, loss of orbital mass (dehydration or starvation,) retraction of the eyeball, Horner's syndrome, changes in skull conformation, diarrhea, and parasites. Treatment relies upon ascertaining the correct unlying cause of the problem.

Horner's syndrome in the dog

Horner’s syndrome



Horner’s syndrome results from damage to the sympathetic nervous system and effects the eyes and muscles of the face. Drooping eyelids, retraction of the eyeball, pupil constriction, prolapse of the third eyelid, and increased heat on the side of the head affected are all signs of the syndrome. These may occur as a result of trauma, tumor, a blood clot, diseases of the middle and inner ear, intervertebral disc disease, or diseases of the eye. Treatment depends on ascertaining the underlying cause of the condition.

neoplasm of the dog's eyelid

Neoplasms of Eyelid



Neoplasms of the dog's eyelid usually present as benign. The appearance of the eyelid usually determines the type of neoplasm.

Meibomian adenoma in the dog

1. Meibomian Adenoma is the most common eyelid neoplasm in the dog. This neoplasm arises from the Meibomian gland but is observed at the eyelid margin, near the Meibomian orifice. Treatment is recommended when corneal irritation results from contact. Treatment requires debulking and adjuvant cryosurgery or full-thickness eyelid resection. The amount of lid shortening that may be done is dependent upon the conformation of the lids in a given breed. Very little tissue may be removed without inducing iatrogenic ectropion or entropion in canine breeds that have a taut lid-to-globe conformation.


eyelid melanoma of the dog

2. Eyelid melanomas are usually superficial and benign. They occur most frequently in older dogs of heavily pigmented breeds. They are usually slow growing and cryosensitive (cold sensitive.)

Papilloma of the eyelid of the dog

3. Papilloma or warts usually affect young dogs. They are superficial and surgical removal is recommended only if there is rapid increase in size or irritation to the cornea. Papillomas in young dogs may disappear on their own.




adenocarcinoma on the eyelid of the dog

4. Adenocarcinoma is a malignant tumor formed from glandular structures in epithelial tissue. It can not be differentiated from Meibomian gland adenoma based on clinical appearance. Although histologically malignant, benign biological behavior is the rule. Adenocarcinoma are also cryosensitive (cold sensitive.)


histiocytoma in the dog

5. Histiocytoma is primarily a tumor of young growing dogs. Histiocytoma has a characteristic clinical appearance in the dog—it is always raised, less than 1 cm in diameter, pink in color, hairless, and has a characteristic rapid growth pattern (Figure 7). Histiocytoma frequently regresses spontaneously between 3 and 5 weeks after it appears.


Canine eye injuries and disease, page 6, click here