Strabismus occurs not just in humans but in dogs and cats, too. Dogs with strabismus often have it from their puppy months, frequently as a result of birth defects. The medical disorder causes atypical eye alignment. Some canines have it in a single eye, while others have it in both of them.
Strabismus in Puppies
Strabismus Basic Information
If your pup has strabismus, his eye, instead of looking to the front, looks either directly at his nose or away from his nose to the side. The condition arises due to irregularities within the tiny muscles situated directly behind the eye and sometimes due to the irregularities of the specific nerves that manage them. If one of these muscles is healthier -- stronger and more capable -- than another one across from it, it could trigger the eyeball to face a direction that is not typical. Although strabismus alters the direction of eyeballs, it doesn't at all affect where they are located. In most cases, normal eyesight remains intact.
Age and Causes
Although strabismus generally shows up in newborn puppies, it isn't restricted to the youngsters. Whether a pooch is young, old or somewhere in the middle, strabismus is a possibility. A lot of different factors can bring upon strabismus in canines, apart from congenital circumstances. These components include muscle nerve trauma, cancer, tick paralysis and ear ailments. Puppies who develop strabismus sometimes do so because of the presence of another disease -- hydrocephalus. This condition is characterized by an excess of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain.
Strabismus is especially prevalent in canines of certain breeds. These dogs include Boston terriers, Shar-Peis, Akitas and Irish wolfhounds. Strabismus in the cat world also has breed predispositions. Himalayan and Siamese cats are especially prone to the eye condition.
Canines with strabismus occasionally display symptoms including appetite loss, exhaustion, problems walking, chronic head-tilt and conspicuous pupil size variances. Look closely at your pet for any signs of strabismus, apart from eye positioning issues.
If you observe positioning issues in your puppy's eyes, set up an appointment with the veterinarian immediately. The condition is often congenital in puppies. In many cases doesn't affect anything other than physical appearance. However, puppies can acquire strabismus for numerous other reasons, including eye muscle scarring. If your precious pooch has strabismus, veterinarians often approach handling the situation by uncovering the trigger of it, and first doing something about that.
By Naomi Millburn
UCSD Comparative Neuromuscular Laboratory: Extraocular Muscle Myositis and Restrictive Strabismus in 10 Dogs
The University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science: Disorder - Exophthalmos With Strabismus
PetEducation.com: Strabismus and Cross-Eyed Dogs
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: Chapter 13 - Orbit and Globe
Merck Veterinary Manual: Physical and Neurologic Examinations
Clinical Veterinary Advisor - Dogs and Cats; Etienne Cote
Opthalmic Disease in Veterinary Medicine; Charles L. Martin
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.