Uvea comprises iris, ciliary body, and choroid. Uvea is concerned with the blood supply to cornea. Uveitis is the condition of inflammation of uvea. It is classified as posterior or anterior uveitis, depending upon the position, where it occurs. Iris and ciliary body are a part of anterior uvea, while choroid is a part of posterior uvea. If all of these structures are affected, uveitis is called true or pan uveitis. In dogs, uveitis may quickly progress to glaucoma and then blindness, if it goes unnoticed and untreated. Hence, it is a must that you watch for any unusual symptoms in your dog.
What Causes Uveitis in Dogs
Injury or trauma to the uvea is a common cause of this condition. Besides, infections such as bacterial, viral, or fungal may also contribute to this condition. Hepatitis virus is also somehow associated with this disease. Some medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, cataracts, metabolic disease, Lyme disease etc. may also contribute to this disease. Tumors also trigger this condition. In female dogs, infected uterus can be one of the causes of uveitis. The correct cause can be ascertained during the diagnosis of the disease. However, one must always be on a lookout for unusual symptoms related to eyes of the pet.
Symptoms of uveitis are difficult to miss, if you are aware of dog health problems. Your dog may experience severe pain in the eye, which can be evaluated from his behavior. Besides, some very visible symptoms include redness in the eye, cloudiness, squinting, excessive tearing, swelling of the eyeball, discharge, unusually small or uneven shape of the pupil, changed color of the iris, etc. This condition may cause leaking of proteins through eyes, hence you should see, if there is any unusual discharge. Formation of pus is also common in some cases. Your dog may squint excessively due to this particular condition. Irregular shape of eyeball is also a clear indication that your dog is suffering from uveitis.
After you report the symptoms of your dog to your vet, he/she may ascertain them by inspecting your dog. The first course of treatment is concerned with reducing the pressure on the eye due to inflammation. Corticosteroids are often prescribed to ease the pressure on the eye, as they help reduce the inflammation of eye. Pain killers are also given to relieve your dog of severe pain. If the cornea is unharmed, topical corticosteroids such as dexamethasone and prednisolone may be prescribed, as they penetrate the cornea to reduce the inflammation. If the vet senses danger to the cornea or threat of vision loss, then he/she may prescribe some fast acting internal corticosteroids. Prednisone and prednisolone are often used for this purpose. The dosage of these medications, including topical ones, is according to the condition of your dog. Severe cases of uveitis may require frequent application of corticosteroids.
In case of corneal damage, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications such as suprofen, diclofenac, indomethacin, and flurbiprofen may be prescribed to reduce inflammation fast. Systemic NSAIDs such as aspirin, ketoprofen, carprofen, and tolfenamic acid may also be used, as they have fewer side effects. Surgical procedures include repair of torn cornea or removal of foreign body from the eye.
Uveitis is a serious condition which may rob your dog off his eyesight. Treatment should be initiated without any delay. After trauma or injury, one must get the dog's eyes tested from a specialist. Similarly infections should be curbed at an initial stage only.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.