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Cat And Dog Eye Health: Glaucoma, Corneal Ulcers, Runny Eyes, And Uvetis

Posted April 24, 2015

Lately, my holistic veterinary clinic in Virginia has been inundated with cats, dogs, and other animals having eye issues. ‘Great!’, I thought to myself, what an inspired time to give all you some information on at-home eye care for your pet, common eye health issues to look out for, tests your veterinarian may perform, and treatments and natural supplements to ease the symptoms of your dog and cat’s eye problems.

But first, I wanted to share with you a little anecdote, which has helped deepen my empathy for any being suffering from eye health problems. Last month, I was holding one of my patients, an ill hen. The hen was tolerant as I spoke with my client (her caretaker) about her condition. But that day, I must have had an extra sparkle in my eye because suddenly that little hen thought my cornea looked good enough to taste and she had several little pecks at it!

I can say firsthand that a scratched cornea is nothing to be taken lightly; the pain is horrible. The moral of this little story is: if you suspect your pet may have an eye injury or eye infection, don’t underestimate the pain they may be in— take them in to get checked as soon as possible, so that treatment and supplements can begin right away.

Some of the more common animal eye health issues my clinic has been presented with are:

  • Corneal ulcers – This is when the cornea is injured or infected and inflammation and slow-healing sores occur on the surface of the cornea. The most common cause of dog or cat corneal ulcers are injury and trauma; however, infection can also be another cause.
  • Glaucoma – This is when an imbalance in production and drainage of fluid in the eye causes an increase in eye pressure to unhealthy levels and is seen by enlargement of the eye and the cornea becoming cloudy.
  • Runny eyes – often due to clogged nasolacrimal ducts. The nasolacrimal duct is the tear drainage from the eye out of the nose.
  • Uvetis – inflammation. The uvea is the colored inside lining of the eye and consists of the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid.

Symptoms of dog and cat eye problems can vary depending on the specific eye health issue. Some common symptoms are:

  • Discharge from the eyes – watery, bloody, or mucous
  • Red or white eyelid linings
  • Tear-stained fur
  • Closed eye(s)
  • Cloudiness or change in eye colour
  • Squinting
  • Attitude and behavioural changes
  • Reduced appetite

At Home Care For Pet Eye Health

While grooming your dog or cat, periodically look closely at your pet’s eyes. Face your pet in a brightly lit area. Eyes should be clear and bright, not cloudy or dry; and pupils should be equal in size.

Veterinary Tests for Eye Health

Your vet will preform a variety of tests to make sure your pet’s eyes are functioning normally. The pet eye tests will depend on previous history, and any specific concerns you may be having.

Common vet tests for eye health include:

  • Looking at the Eye with a ophthalmoscope – This is part of the full eye examination. A ophthalmoscope (or funduscope) allows your vet to see inside the fundus of the eye and other structures of the eye.
  • Corneal stains – a great way to test for clogged ducts. Your veterinarian may apply a special green stain on the cornea, and see if the stain comes out of your pet’s nose. If the dye spills over the lower lid or does not come out through the nose, the duct is clogged or absent. Note: some animals are born without nasolacrimal ducts.
  • Tear production tests – such as the Schirmer tear test. This simple test consists of a small paper strip, which is inserted under the eyelid to measure the amount of moisture produced.
  • Ocular pressure tests – the pressure within the eye is measured painlessly using a tool called a tonometer.

After testing, your veterinarian will be able to determine if the condition needs aggressive immediate attention; for instance high or low ocular pressures (for glaucoma or uveitis). Many times, an eye health issue is indicative of a systemic disease, or an ulcer causing pain that may lead to infection if not treated.

Treatment and Supplements For Dog or Cat Eye Problems

My background in veterinary care is a holistic, integrative approach. Depending on the condition, I may prescribe pharmaceuticals to my patients. For natural supplement care, I use NHV Ey Eas. I have used Ey Eas for all the common eye problems listed above. In particular I have had tremendous success treating clogged nasolacrimal ducts with NHV Ey Eas, which helps open up and drain the eye normally and helps decrease the irritation from runny eyes.

Additional Care

If you have had your pets eyes checked by a veterinarian, and would also like a holistic opinion, please do contact me. I offer on-line consultations through NHV Natural Pet Products and would be happy to offer you additional advice and supplement suggestions.

Yours in Wellness,
Dr. H. Cook



Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for fifteen years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!

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