Cloudy Eyes in Dogs
Cloudy eyes in dogs is also known as keratitis. Keratitis occurs when the cornea is inflamed, and then becomes cloudy. The cornea is no longer transparent. There are several different kinds of keratitis but they are all serious and they can result in blindness for your dog. Keratitis needs to be treated by your veterinarian.
Keratitis can be caused by one of several different things, depending on the type of keratitis your dog has. It can be cause by infection due to a viral agent, a fungus, or by bacteria. It can be caused by the deposit of pigment in the eye. Keratitis can be caused by dry eye or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca. And keratitis can occur if the dog has a growth of tissue or blood vessels in the eye.
Symptoms of keratitis include the cloudy eyes, as well as eyes that are watery. Your dog may appear to squint and try to avoid lights. The dog’s third eyelid may protrude. Your dog may paw at his eye.
Different kinds of keratitis include:
- Corneal: Corneal ulcers happen when deep layers of the cornea are lost; can be due to an injury
- Ulcerative: Ulcerative keratitis is a complication of a corneal ulcer or keratoconjunctivitis sicca
- Infectious: Infectious keratitis happens when a bacterial infection causes complications in a corneal ulcer, ulcerative keratitis, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca
- Fungal: Not common
- Interstitial: Interstitial keratitis is a corneal inflammation where a slight blue-white hazy film covers the eye. Interstitial keratitis is caused by the same virus that leads to infectious hepatitis.
- Vascular: Vascular keratitis occurs when the clearness of the cornea is lost because of the overgrowth of connective tissue and blood vessels.
- Pigmentary: Pigmentary keratitis occurs when melanin pigment finds its way into the cornea.
- Chronic: Chronic keratitis as an irritation of the cornea can occur when entropion or some other eye problem causes vascular or pigmentary keratitis to appear in the eye.
- Pannusis: Pannusis is a certain kind of pigmentary keratitis that doesn’t cause pain which is found in German Shepherd Dogs and their crosses. It is also found in breeds such as Australian Shepherds, Greyhounds, Siberian Huskies, Border Collies, and Belgian Tervurens
All forms of keratitis need to be treated by your veterinarian. Lack of treatment can lead to blindness.
It is not possible to cure every form of keratitis, but your vet will try to treat the symptoms and stop any further damage to the eye.
If your dog has a form of keratitis that is due to a fungal or bacterial infection then they are usually treated with antibiotics.
If your dog’s eye is cloudy due to the overgrowth of tissue or blood vessels, your vet may prescribe steroid ointments to reduce the inflammation in the eye. This should also slow the growth in the eye. Your dog will need to use these steroids indefinitely which can have negative side effects. Your vet will try to prescribe the lowest effective dose for treatment.
All forms of keratitis are serious and should be taken seriously. If your dog has cloudy eyes and the other symptoms of keratitis, then you should see a veterinarian right away so your vet can start treatment.