If your dog's eye appears swollen, take him to the vet immediately. If you're lucky, it's something minor and easily treated with eye drops for dogs. But there's always the possibility that the swelling results from a serious condition and time is of the essence to avoid vision loss. Dog swollen eye treatments varies based on veterinary diagnosis. Depending on the cause, your vet might refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Canine conjunctivitis or pink eye
If the conjunctiva lining your dog's eyelid appears pink and swollen, it's possibly he's developed conjunctivitis, commonly called "pinkeye," which is infectious. If both eyes are affected, it's likely your dog suffers from a bacterial or viral infection. Your vet diagnoses conjunctivitis via scraping the conjunctiva or conducting a tear test. Depending on the results, she might prescribe topical antibiotics, such as eye drops for dogs, to treat the condition.
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If only one eye is involved, swelling and redness might result from a foreign body, allergens, or congenital eye deformities. Besides removing any foreign particle, your vet might conduct allergy tests on your pet to determine the source of the irritation. Obstructed tear ducts can also cause inflammation, and so can smoke and environmental pollutants.
Canine blepharitis or inflamed eyelids
Some symptoms of blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) resemble those of conjunctivitis. The dog's eyelid swells and itches, and any scratching aggravates the problem. Affected dogs often experience eye discharge and crusting on the eyelid. Blepharitis can result from trauma, tumors, eye abnormalities, infection, or allergic reaction, with treatment depending on the cause. Short-term treatment includes applying warm compresses to the eye several times daily and cleaning off any eye discharge.
Canine ocular neoplasia or eye tumors
The initial signs of canine eye tumors, or ocular neoplasias, usually involve swelling and squinting, but no obvious pain. Unfortunately, the majority of eye tumors are malignant, with a poor prognosis for the dog's long-term survival unless they are treated with surgery. If the tumor is on the eyelid, and not the eye, the majority of cases are treated successfully by with surgery, often performed by a specialist.
Your vet determines the type of tumor by using ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging. If the tumor is on the eye, she will likely perform surgery to remove the tumor, which generally means taking out the entire eye and some adjacent bone. This sounds frightening, but dogs generally adjust well after such an operation. Treatment with radiation and chemotherapy might follow.
Prolapse of eyelid or cherry eye
Tear duct inflammation can result in swollen eyes. Prolapse of the third eyelid gland, the nictitans gland, is called 'cherry eye.' The third eyelid adds a protective layer to the eye and produces most of the eye's protective tear film. When this gland falls out of place because the fibrous attachment is weak, it resembles a swollen red cherry jutting out of the dog's eye. It's a visible red mass on the dog's lower eyelid near the nose.
This third eyelid or nictitans gland aids significantly in tear production, so your vet will want to preserve rather than remove it. Otherwise, your dog is susceptible to keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye, which causes pain and vision loss. Surgery consists of resetting the gland and stitching it back in place. Breeds most susceptible to cherry eye include cocker spaniels, bulldogs, Boston terriers, beagles, bloodhounds, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, and brachycephalic breeds.