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What does Cloudy Eyes in Dogs Mean? Causes and Treatment

Are you beginning to notice changes in your dog’s eyes? Find out the common conditions that lead to cloudy eyes and their possible treatments. The treatment for your dog’s eyes depends on underlying causes. However, a condition caused by the natural ageing process of a dog may not have a cure. Cloudy eyes due to cataracts or nuclear sclerosis is a clear indication that your dog needs some form of treatments.

The best source of information regarding your pet’s health is a veterinarian who will help you distinguish between the different causes of cloudy appearance.

Cloudy eyes are also known as increased opacity is an indication of reduced opacity of the cornea in dogs. This change is what a veterinarian will describe as increased cloudiness within the eye. The condition may or may not affect the dog’s vision.

The main categories of a cloudy eye are:

  • Opacification or the whitening of the lens from cataracts
  • Cloudiness of the cornea, which occur because of infections of the cornea. Such infections are caused by scarring of the cornea, fatty infiltration, calcium deposits, infiltrative inflammation, and fluid accumulation.
  • The presence of excess white blood cells, proteins, blood, and fatty lipids on the queous humour.
  • Disorders of the vitreous body (the fluid running between the lens and the retina).

Such disorders may include congenital defects, inflammation or haemorrhage

What You Should Be Looking for

cloudy eyes in dogs causes
cloudy eyes in dogs meaning
  • Changes in the physical appearance of one or both eyes (in most cases cloudy eye dog symptoms affect both eyes simultaneously)
  • Decreasing vision accompanied by changes in behaviour
  • Squinting which may be a result of pain in the eye
  • Discharges coming from the eyes
  • Redness of the eyes

If your dogs exhibit any or a combination of these symptoms, seek trusted veterinarian assistance.

What Does Cloudy Eyes in Dogs Mean?

The typical cloudiness on your pet’s eye could be visible in the lens identified by the unique pigmentation. Muscle fiber found on the eye helps in adjusting vision of the animal in relation to changes to light intensity. The contraction and relaxation are what changes the lens thickness and shape; such movements is what defines the focus of the eye.

The dog’s age may also contribute to whitening of the lens and may start showing when you look at the dog. Failing to attend to the cloudiness on the dog’s eye compromises its vision acuity. You need the help of a veterinarian to ascertain that nature of eye cloudiness or the exact location in the eye.

What Causes Eye Cloudiness in Dogs?

These are the most common ailments that causes your dog’s eyes to be cloudy.

1.      Nuclear Sclerosis

Most dogs, as they age start to develop a haze within the lens; the condition rarely causes vision impairment. However, the ability to focus may be problematic. A veterinary officer will tell you the difference between cataracts and nuclear sclerosis because of their near similarities. The bluish discoloration is synonymous with nuclear sclerosis unlike the opaque white discolouration associated with cataracts.

The condition is noticeable in dogs above the age of six and develops on both eyes at the same time. It is not a painful experience because it develops over time; therefore, the dog adapts to changes brought about by nuclear sclerosis.

2.      Cataracts

The dog’s eye develops cataracts just like you and me. The whitish deposits are as a result of abnormal lens metabolism. Cataracts progression can be slow over many years or progress quickly over a short period and may lead to blindness.

Dogs inherit cataracts from parents. Other direct causes include diabetes, toxicity from drugs, trauma in the eye, nutritional deficiencies and as a stage in the ageing process. A veterinary officer will help you to monitor how the cataract is progressing. Sometime you may only need anti-inflammatory eye drops as prescribed. When the quality of life reduces due to the rapid progression of the cataract, surgery is sometimes an option to restore vision.

3.      Glaucoma

When your pet’s eye is under too much pressure, the fluid inside the eye may fail to drain properly leading to increased pressure. The tension leaves a distinct cloudy appearance that is blue. If the condition is not treated, it will cause the eye to enlarge and lose its shape, and the result will be irreversible blindness.

Glaucoma in pets can be either primary or secondary. Primary glaucoma is an inheritance eye problem. Secondary glaucoma will develop when other eye ailments such as uveitis, cancer of the eye, advanced cataracts, lens displacement, and retinal detachment. Treatment of trachoma depends on the cause and severity. An immediate goal is to relieve pressure inside the dog’s eye as soon as possible.

4.      Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy is an inherited and progressive condition that affects the two eyes. However, the condition does not affect normal vision, and it is less painful. Corneal dystrophy is visible in three different forms, and are given names depending on the location of the infection. Epithelial corneal dystrophy affects cell formation, corneal stromal dystrophy is synonymous with the blue discoloration, and endothelial corneal dystrophy affects the lining surrounding the cornea.

Even after treatment to remove the corneal dystrophy, your dog will still have the cloudy eye appearance. Please make sure you are in touch with your veterinary officer when dogs show signs of pain, have watery eyes or blinks after successful treatment.

5.      Anterior Uveitis

Anterior uveitis is an inflammation of the iris and the ciliary body found in the uvea region of the eye. Another term for this condition is iridocyclists. The condition is painful and can threaten the dog’s vision. Because of the abundant blood supply in the uvea, this eye condition could also be due to ailments in other parts of the dog’s body.

Symptoms associated with Anterior Uveitis include squinting, eye redness, excessive tearing or discharge, pupil changes in colour, the iris changes in shape or colour, and swelling of the eyeballs. Sometimes your dog may look dull with clouded eyes.

What to do if Your Dog’s Eye Turn Cloudy

The best person to diagnose eye problems in dogs is a certified veterinary officer through an ophthalmic exam.  The specialist will look at the dog’s eye using specialised tools and perform specific tests to establish the overall eye health.

Some of the standard tests include:

  • The Schimer tear test: for measuring the amount of tear production
  • Tonometry test: for measuring eye pressure
  • Fluorescein stain test: which helps for looks for abnormalities such as ulcers usually found on the eye surface.

Age-related lenticular sclerosis should not worry you because there is nothing much you can do, after all the dog’s vision automatically adjusts to the gradual changes. Be on the lookout for the progress of cataracts because some do develop alongside the age-related cloudiness. In the case of cataracts, surgery may be the only option only if the dog is healthy. If your veterinary officer approves of surgery, the dog’s lenses may be removed or emulsified; a replacement using a synthetic lens implant is likely. After the surgery, you will administer eye drops, pain reduction pills, and antibiotics for at least one month.

Treatment of less serious cases of glaucoma is to administer eye drops, oral medication, and ointments. Laser surgery that may also lead to eyeball removal may be required. Lacerations and abrasions are self-healing unless the cut run deep hence forcing a minor operation.

Some of the diseases causing uveitis are naturally infectious and neglecting them may lead to certain types of cancers and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. To eliminate recurrence of uveitis make sure your veterinarian knows the kind of systemic illness causing it. Blood tests, x-rays, and other lab tests are necessary to find the underlying cause of the problem.

It is a good practice to watch your dog closely for the symptoms of eye problems and contact the veterinary clinic if you notice something out of the ordinary such as redness, squinting, and thick discharge coming from the dog’s eye.

Prevention of Cloudy Eyes

Some of these eye problems are difficult to prevent, what you need to know is that after treatment some measures can help prevent re-infection. Anytime there is an outbreak, ensure you take the pet for routine observation to the nearest veterinarian doctor. Trauma-related eye cloudiness such as corneal ulcers could be prevented by keeping your dog’s eye safe from any physical harm.

Interestingly some of the causes of dog eye problems are traceable to poor diet and nutrition. As a dog owner, seek advice from the veterinarian on the best food and nutrition for the kind of breed you own and in relation the cause of eye cloudiness.

This article is purely for information and advisory purposes. The best solution as advocated by the article is to seek the advice of a veterinary officer for treatment or get a diagnosis. When you notice changes in your pet’s eye, do not take it upon yourself to use any medications without consulting a veterinarian.

Further References:

  1. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cloudy-eyes-in-dogs/
  2. vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/do-my-dogs-cloudy-eyes-mean-he-has-cataracts
  3. https://thebark.com/content/keeping-puppy-dog-eyes-clear-and-bright

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