The cornea is the dome-shaped, clear membrane that covers the eyeball. Cornea cells are the only transparent cells in the body, and the cornea has no blood vessels. The delicate membrane is nourished by tears. Apart from that, the cornea derives nourishment from the aqueous humor that is located behind it. Being placed on the front part of the eye, this membrane is susceptible to injuries. Such injuries are very common in dogs, and need immediate medical attention, so as to avoid complications such as loss of vision.
In case of dogs, trauma is the most common cause of scratches in the cornea. It is highly probable that the pet animal can hurt itself, accidentally, in case it encounters some sharp or blunt object. The dog may rub its eye on some surface and develop such scratches, which can also be caused by pawing. Cats are infamous for scratching dogs, while fighting. So, a cat scratch may also cause corneal laceration in canines. Even dogs fight and sustain such abrasions. In some cases, foreign particles like dust may get trapped in the eyes and cause such scratches. This type of eye injuries are highly common in dogs who frequent heavy vegetation. Eyelashes that grow inward or outward may also cause scratches in the cornea. Corneal scratches can be healed easily, if they are not too deep.
- A dog with a scratched cornea may develop squinting. Your pet may be unable to open its eyes completely.
- Excessive blinking and aversion to bright light may point towards corneal damage in dogs.
- Watery eyes is another common symptom. In case of corneal damage, eyes are constantly filled with fluids (tears).
- The dog scrapes its face using its paws frequently. This behavior may indicate that the dog has some problem in the area.
- An untreated scratch may result in symptoms like redness, inflammation, and occasional bleeding from the eyes.
- The cornea may turn white or cloudy, or develop an unusual appearance. Rubbing at the eyes may also indicate corneal damage.
Diagnostic tests like 'Fluorescein eye stain' are used to determine the extent of corneal damage. Simple injuries are often treated with medications like analgesics and antibiotics. An Elizabethan collar has to be used to prevent the dog from rubbing the eye. A corneal abrasion may worsen and form a deep wound, which may require surgical treatment. In that case, medications are administered to alleviate the discomfort, before the surgery.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, take it to a veterinary ophthalmologist. It is advisable to put a collar and leash. You may also use a muzzle, as the animal may turn aggressive due to pain. Follow the vet's instructions properly, so as to fasten healing and to avoid complications.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.