Cocker Spaniel eye problems can make your dog's life a misery!
Understanding what conditions can affect your dog's eyes and treating them before they get out of hand will drastically reduce your pet's risk of eye problems.
Learn how to spot the early signs of trouble, treat common dog eye problems and keep your precious little Cocker Spaniel's eyes sparkling and healthy!
Many conditions could affect your Cocker Spaniel's eyes during his lifetime.
Some are hereditary; others are caused by viruses, bacteria, poor hygiene, or allergens such as dust or pollen.
Listed below are Cocker Spaniel eye problems that may affect your dog, together with symptoms and a link to more detailed information on that particular issue.
Glaucoma is a condition which creates an abnormal increase in pressure inside the eye, which, long-term, can result in irreversible blindness for your pet.
The inside of a normal healthy eye produces a clear fluid called aqueous humour, which nourishes the eye.
A healthy eye will maintain a balance of fluid and drainage, which helps to keep the correct pressure inside the eyeball.
Glaucoma occurs when there's a problem with drainage. It increases pressure inside the eye, which causes the eyeball to bulge and can lead to eventual blindness.
Symptoms of Glaucoma include; pain, red eyes, sensitivity to light, and protruding eyeballs.
Treatment can involve temporary medicines or surgery depending on the type of Glaucoma (primary or secondary). However, your dog may still eventually lose his eyesight despite treatment.
You can learn more about Glaucoma in dogs here.
Canine conjunctivitis, also known as 'pink eye', is one of the most common Cocker Spaniel eye problems.
It is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the membrane connecting the eyelid to the eyeball.
The conjunctiva can become irritated by an allergic reaction to pollen or grasses or infections caused by bacteria, fungi or a virus.
Apart from redness and swelling of the eyelid, symptoms include watery eyes or a yellowish-green discharge, squinting, and itching.
Your dog may paw at his eye or try to rub his face on carpets and furniture for relief.
Conjunctivitis in dogs caused by an allergy isn't contagious.
However, conjunctivitis caused by an infection may be contagious to other dogs, so it's essential to be strict about hygiene to avoid passing this on, especially if you have other pets in your home.
Your vet may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointment depending on whether the problem results from an allergy or an infection.
The bacteria that cause conjunctivitis are not the same as those that affect humans, so dogs can't pass the condition on to humans.
Just follow the link if you'd like to learn more about canine conjunctivitis, just follow the link.
As far as canine eye problems go, this is probably one of the most painful.
Entropion is a condition where your dog's eyelid rolls inward.
This causes the eyelashes and fur to rub against the dog's eyeball, which can cause considerable irritation and pain and, long-term, quite a bit of damage to the cornea.
Entropion usually affects both eyes simultaneously and can be in the upper or lower lids; however, it's more common in the lower lids.
Where entropion is hereditary, puppies may be born with it or develop it within the first 12 months, but it's more commonly seen in older Cocker Spaniels.
Symptoms include; pain, watery eyes, blinking, swollen lids, and ulcers.
Treatment involves creams or drops for the eye to help with lubrication and pain, but it won't cure the problem. A surgical procedure called blepharoplasty is the only effective treatment.
Learn more about entropion in dogs here.
Distichiasis is a condition where abnormal eyelashes (distichiae) grow from the oil glands in the dog's eyelid. These abnormal eyelashes can cause much irritation on the eyeball - ouch!
If the dog's hair is fine and soft, there may be no visible symptoms; however, where there is irritation, your dog's eyes may become red and/or inflamed. Your Cocker Spaniel may squint or try to rub his eyes with his paws to relieve the irritation.
There are several treatments available for Distichiasis, and which one your vet chooses will depend on the severity of the dog's eye problem.
The abnormal eyelashes may be removed manually, by surgery, or by using a form of electrolysis.
Surgery may be followed up with a course of antibiotics to prevent infection and help clear up any ulcers or infections caused by the distichiasis.
Ectopic Cilia is similar to Distichiasis, but instead, the hair grows from the inner surface of the eyelid.
This condition can be excruciating for your dog and cause corneal ulcers.
Dog eye problems often manifest as squinting, tearing or discharge, ulceration, and clouding of the cornea.
Your poor Cocker may paw at his eyes to try and relieve the irritation and/or pain.
Ectopic Cilia may be treated the same way as for Distichiasis, i.e. the lashes causing the problem are removed, followed by antibiotics to control infection.
Eyelid tumours are usually found in middle-aged to older dogs.
Tumours can be treated successfully with surgery; however, if the tumour isn't removed while it's small, it can grow large and destroy the eyelid.
Conjunctivitis and discharge are common in dogs with growing eyelid tumours.
If your pet has a cataract, his eye will appear cloudy, and his vision may be affected.
You may notice that he has trouble seeing things properly and may begin to walk into otherwise familiar objects.
If your dog's cataracts are left untreated, they will eventually lead to blindness. However, surgery can remove cataracts successfully, especially if they're treated early.
A cataract in one eye could result from physical trauma, but where cataracts appear in both eyes, they are hereditary. Cataracts are often seen in Cocker Spaniels.
Therefore, when buying a Spaniel puppy, it's advisable to check that there's no history of cataracts in either parents or grandparents.
Learn more about dog cataracts.
PTEG is also often referred to as 'Cherry Eye'.
Your Cocker Spaniel has a third eyelid that protects his eyeball.
This third eyelid also contains a tear gland, and 'Cherry Eye' is where the tear gland bursts out of its normal position and appears in the inside corner of the eye as a red swelling.
If your dog is unlucky enough to develop PTEG, your vet will probably recommend surgery to suture the gland back in place.
After the surgery, however, your Cocker may be at risk of developing a dry eye problem.
Dry eye is also known as KCS.
It is a condition where your pet's eyes don't produce enough tears to lubricate the eyeball, and his eyes become dry and irritated as a result.
Dry eyes can lead to infections, injured corneas and, in severe cases, blindness.
Symptoms include redness and obvious irritation, squinting, lack-lustre eyes, dislike of light, and discharge.
KCS can usually be treated with antibiotics and corticosteroids.
Lenticular or Nuclear Sclerosis is an age-related condition in our dog's eyes.
As our Cockers grow older, the lenses of their eyes can become hardened and turn a cloudy blue-grey which can look very similar to a cataract.
This condition requires no treatment and probably won't affect your pet's eyesight until the very late stages. However, your Cocker Spaniel's eyesight would likely have deteriorated to that point due to old age anyway.
PRA is an inherited dog eye problem to which Cocker Spaniels may be prone, leading to eventual blindness.
Early symptoms include dilated pupils, night blindness and difficulty in low light.
Your dog may hesitate to walk down steps or stairs, and his eyes may look as if they're glowing or shining.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for progressive retinal atrophy; however, it may no longer be a hopeless disease, according to Animal Eye Care.
Many cocker spaniel eye problems can emerge in your pet's eyes. Although we may be unable to prevent hereditary diseases, regular checks and weekly cleaning can help keep other eye conditions at bay.
If we are to spot early common dog eye health problems before they can worsen, it's best to check your Cocker Spaniel's eyes often - at least weekly.
I usually give Max's eyes a quick check when I'm talking to him or giving him a cuddle, but they're thoroughly checked and cleaned when I groom him.
So many pet owners wait a few days (or more) to see if the symptoms clear. Or, they feel they don't want to 'bother' the vet with something that appears relatively minor.
Unfortunately, that's often a big mistake!
Your pet must see his vet as soon as you notice eye problems; prompt diagnosis and treatment are vital where eye health care is concerned.
By being vigilant and catching problems early, before they escalate, you will minimize any discomfort for your pet, keeping damage to his eyes to an absolute minimum.
Meanwhile, we can do lots to keep our pet's eyes healthy and help avoid those nasty eye problems in the first place!