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.

Corneal ulcercorneal ulcer

corneal ulcer



A corneal ulcer is an open sore in the outer layer of the cornea. It is often caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, fungi, or a parasite. corneal ulcer drawing

The cornea is actually composed of four layers, the outermost layer is the epithelium, beneath is the basement membrane, beneath that is the stroma (thickest portion), and the innermost layer is the Descemet's membrane.

A corneal erosion of abrasion effects the epithelium. A corneal ulcer is a deeper abrasion which runs into the stroma. Tear fluid is absorbed into the stroma producing the cloudy appearance of the eye. When the erosions goes all the way through to the Descemet's membrane a descemetocele forms. If the membrane ruptures the fluid inside the eyeball leaks out. This can lead to eye collapse. ulcerative keratitis
Rapid progression of a cornea ulcer is due to the activity of enzymes released by bacteria, inflammatory cells or corneal cells. They digest the cornea which becomes gelatinous and the eye. Melting ulcers can lead to rupture of the eye. melting cornea ulcer





Dry Eye in the dog

Dry Eye



Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye comes from the Latin terms Kerato (cornea), Conjunctivae (pink membranes of the eye socket), Itis (inflammation), and Sicca (dry). Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is an inflamed, dry cornea and conjunctiva. It occurs when there is a deficiency in the water portion of the tear film. Water makes up 95% of tear volume. When this is removed oil and mucus remain, giving the eye a yellow discharge. Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye - This is a disorder in which the eye does not produce enough of the watery part of tears. Evaporative dry eye – This disorder is caused by inflammation of the glands that produce the lipid or oily layer of tears. Without this layer, tears can be unstable and evaporate too quickly.

tear glands of the canine eye

The lacrimal and the nictitans gland (third eyelid) produce tears. The cornea needs oxygen and nutrients. This is supplied through the three-layered tear film. The outermost layer is an oily layer supplied by glands in the eyelids. The middle layer is the liquid (watery part of tears) layer produced by the lacrimal glands that are located in the upper eyelid and in the third eyelid. The innermost layer of the tear film is in direct contact with the cornea and is a mucous layer produced by glands located in the conjunctival membrane. When the lacrimal glands fail, the eye becomes dry.

Hypothyroidism, lacrimal gland inflections such as the distemper, immune-mediated destruction of the lacrimal glands, neurologic problems, and the toxic effects of sulfa-containing antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often the cause of dry eyes in dogs.




Cherry Eye in the dog

Cherry Eye

A prolapsed lacrimal gland is commonly called "cherry eye." The condition is not painful, but the exposed gland may become irritated or infected. Surgery is usually performed to create a new pocket for the lacrimal gland. If done incorrectly or if the gland is damaged the dog may develop dry eye.