Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Signs & Symptoms of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

  • Eye pain - Your dog will be rubbing the eye or holding it closed and squinting. If you try to touch the area around the eye, your dog may move away and even growl to show that it is painful.
  • Excessive tearing of the eye.
  • Swollen or bulging eye that may also appear bloodshot.
  • Sensitivity to bright light and squinting are commonly seen.  
  • Loss of appetite or lethargy will indicate that your dog is not feeling well.
  • The cornea may have a cloudy appearance.

Causes of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Most corneal ulcers are caused by an injury, or by an infection that penetrates deep enough to cause an ulcer.

Diagnosis of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

Diagnosis begins with a complete history and a physical exam of the dog.  Your veterinarian will most likely do the following:

  • Complete eye exam with an ophthalmoscope
  • Corneal stain - A fluorescent dye is placed in the eye and then examined with an ultraviolet light. If an ulcer is present, it will glow green under the UV light. Your veterinarian can now evaluate the size and location of the ulcer.

Treatment for Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

The goal in treating corneal ulcers is to shrink the ulcer and relieve pain for your dog. This is usually done through a combination of drugs. If there is an underlying infection, you will also be giving a round of antibiotics. On occasion, if the ulcer is large enough, surgery is indicated. A veterinary surgeon will suture the eyelids together, providing an eye bandage until the ulcer dissolves. Once this occurs, the eye is opened up and vision restored.

Prevention of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs

 There is no prevention for corneal ulcers as most are trauma related.