Common Eye Problems in Shih Tzus

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Having a Shih Tzu as part of your family can require a lot of maintenance. The breed is susceptible to eye problems including cataracts, eye infections, and ulcers, so it is very important to keep their eyes clean and trim the fur around the eyes to avoid irritation. Because of their large sensitive eyes, there are several common Shih Tzu eye problems — watch for swelling, redness, excessive blinking, and watery or thick discharge. Any of these conditions could be a sign of the following problems.

Shih Tzu puppies are susceptible to eye problems such as infections and ulcers.
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Cataracts in older dogs

Cataracts, which are usually genetic, will usually not develop until the dog is eight years old, though they can occur as a result of an eye injury — they can also be indicators of other health issues such as diabetes. Cataracts can be recognized by a cloudy look over the dog's eye.

Cataracts affect the Shih Tzu's vision and can make your dog blind if the condition goes untreated. Cataracts are removed by surgery, though scarring can occur from the surgery and can lead to decreased vision. A fairly new operational technique called Phaco limits contact with the eye during surgery and has proven successful in many cases.

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Corneal ulcers from scratching

A corneal ulcer can result from a Shih Tzu scratching his or her eye. A tear on the eye is usually not visible, but signs of an ulcer include your dog keeping his eye only half open, the dog closing his eye more often than usual, or the Shih Tzu producing more tears than usual. A veterinarian will be able to diagnose the corneal ulcer, and the treatment will likely consist of daily eye drops that will reduce the swelling and pain.

Shih tzu eye infection and glaucoma

The symptoms of a Shih Tzu eye infection include swelling, more discharge than usual, redness, and sensitivity to light.
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The symptoms of a Shih Tzu eye infection include swelling, more discharge than usual, redness, and sensitivity to light. If the eye infection in your Shih Tzu's eye(s) is not treated, the condition can cause sight problems. A veterinarian will distinguish whether your pet has a bacterial or viral eye infection or if the redness is caused by allergies. If the condition is a bacterial eye infection, it can be treated with an antibacterial eye drop.

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Note, however, symptoms for eye infections are similar to glaucoma, a painful disease that can leave your dog bling if not treated quickly. In addition to watery red eyes, a cloudy bluing of the cornea is visible. Eyes will bulge in advanced cases. Glaucoma requires immediate veterinary care because it's a serious condition.

Eyelashes causing Shih Tzu eye problems

Distichiasis is a condition where an eyelash grows on the inner surface or the edge of the Shih Tzu's eyelid, curving inward and causing discomfort. If the eye lash is not noticeable, signs that there is a problem include your Shih Tzu rubbing her face on pillows, carpet, or anything she can to relieve the discomfort. The most common treatment is for a veterinarian to permanently remove the eyelash by electrolysis.

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Shih Tzu cloudy eye treatment

Allergies or objects in the eye can cause swelling.
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Symptoms for conjunctivitis, or pink eye, include discharge from the eye(s), swelling, noticeable discomfort, and a red or pink appearance of the eye. This common eye problem in your Shih Tzu can be caused by several factors, including allergies or objects in the eye.

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If the conjunctivitis is bacterial, pink eye can be spread by contact between dogs. If it is viral, it can be airborne and spread without direct contact — usually during colder months with humidity. Shih Tzu cloudy eye treatment, or pink eye treatment, usually includes a medication to reduce the swelling if it's viral or antibiotics if it's bacterial pink eye.

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