Dog's Odd-Looking Eyes

The causes and treatments of a dog’s swollen, cloudy, sunken, or yellow eyes.

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CAUSES OF BULGING OR SWOLLEN EYES

Trauma: Prolapsed eye due to facial trauma, or hemorrhage in tissues around eye.

Tumors: In eye and surrounding structures.

Congenital/Inherited diseases: Glaucoma.

Infectious diseases: Orbital cellulitis due to bacterial infection, foreign bodies (migrating grass awns) or inflammation/infection of nearby salivary glands.

What to do: An eye problem may or may not be an emergency, depending on severity, cause, and other signs of illness. Contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately for specific advice about your dog’s situation.

CAUSES OF CLOUDY EYES

Congenital/Inherited diseases: Cataracts; glaucoma (causing corneal edema); entropion, ectropion, distichiasis, imperforate lacrimal puncta, deficiency of tear-producing tissue (all of which can cause superficial keratitis, inflammation of the outer layer of the cornea); keratoconjunctivitis sicca (“dry eye”); corneal dystrophy (a condition that causes recurring corneal ulcers); pannus (bilateral superficial keratitis, in German Shepherd Dogs, Siberian Huskies, Border Collies, and other breeds); or bilateral corneal dystrophy (opacity of the cornea due to calcium, cholesterol or triglyceride deposits).

Infectious diseases: Secondary bacterial infection complicating superficial keratitis (inflammation of the outer layer of the cornea), interstitial keratitis (corneal inflammation with involvement of its deeper layers) due to infectious hepatitis, generalized fungal infections or localized bacterial infections.

Trauma: To eye, causing superficial keratitis (inflammation of the outer layer of the cornea), corneal ulcers, or cataracts.

Nutritional/Metabolic disorders: Malnutrition (cataracts) or calcium deficiency (cataracts).

Endocrine disorders: Diabetes mellitus (cataracts) or hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease, corneal disease, cataracts).

Inflammation/Irritation: Ocular inflammation or radiation exposure (cataracts).

Immune-mediated diseases: Superficial keratitis (inflammation of the cornea).

Miscellaneous: Cloudy eyes in older dogs, due to a normal age-related increase in density of the lens; corneal degeneration, or corneal dystrophy (usually secondary to other eye disease or generalized disease).

What to do: An eye problem may or may not be an emergency, depending on severity, cause, and other signs of illness. Contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately for specific advice about your dog’s situation.

CAUSES OF FILM OVER EYES

Congenital/Inherited disorders: Imperforate lacrimal puncta, deficiency of tear-producing tissue, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (“dry eye”).

Immune-mediated diseases: Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or uveitis.

Drug reaction: Exposure to oral sulfa-containing antibiotics, topical atropine, or topical anesthetics (all of which can cause keratoconjunctivitis sicca).

Endocrine disorders: Hypothyroidism (keratoconjunctivitis sicca).

What to do: An eye problem may or may not be an emergency, depending on severity, cause, and other signs of illness. Contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately for specific advice about your dog’s situation.

CAUSES OF SUNKEN EYES

Note: This symptom occurs frequently with disorders that cause chronic dehydration. See also Dry Gums or Tongue.

Infectious diseases: Parvovirus; gastroenteritis with vomiting and/or diarrhea; distemper, leptospirosis, rabies, and other diseases that cause generalized depression, along with meningitis and/or encephalitis with subsequent pharyngeal dysfunction/paralysis; prostatitis, prostatic abscess, peritonitis due to rupture of a diseased organ (intestine, uterus) or abscess (prostate, liver), or post-surgical infection. Note: Never handle a dog who may have rabies. If possible, without touching the dog, confine him in a room, pen, or yard, and call your local animal control for assistance.

Trauma: To skull (brain), mouth, teeth, tongue, pharynx, abdomen, burns, snake bite, or massive trauma of any type.

Nutritional disorders: Malnutrition or malabsorption syndromes.

Foreign bodies: In mouth, pharynx, stomach, or intestines.

Tumors: In brain, nasal passages (with extension into brain), pharynx, pancreas, or other sites (especially widespread cancer).

Toxicity: Ethanol (alcohol), ethylene glycol, anticoagulant rodenticides (warfarin), metaldehyde (slug bait), lead, or grapes/raisins.

Parasites/Parasite-borne diseases: Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, coccidiosis (in puppies), salmon poisoning disease (a bacterial disease contracted by eating salmon, trout, or Pacific giant salamanders parasitized by flukes that carry the infective organism).

Endocrine disorders: Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease) or pyometra (uterine infection).

Non-infectious/Acquired diseases: Chronic kidney disease, liver failure, or urethral obstruction.

What to do: An eye problem may or may not be an emergency, depending on severity, cause, and other signs of illness. Contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately for specific advice about your dog’s situation.

CAUSES OF YELLOW EYES

Infectious diseases: Leptospirosis.

Non-infectious/Acquired diseases: Liver disease.

Congenital/Inherited disorders: Chronic hepatitis (in Bedlington Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Skye Terriers).

Toxicity: Phosphorus (rodenticide, seldom used; also found in some fireworks) or zinc (in vitamin or mineral supplements, batteries, paints, zinc-oxide creams, screws, galvanized metal, most U.S. pennies, and many other sources).

Immune-mediated disorders: Autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

Drug reaction: Carprofen (icterus).

What to do: An eye problem may or may not be an emergency, depending on severity, cause, and other signs of illness. Contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately for specific advice about your dog’s situation.

Disclaimer: DogChannel.com’s Dog Medical Conditions are intended for educational purposes only. They are not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your dog’s ailment. If you notice changes in your dog’s health or behavior, please take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

Have a health question about your dog? Ask our 
vet expert or ask other dog owners on our forums.

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

1/13/2013 4:07:59 AM

Very interesting and good information to know about.

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tammy   cuba, KS

1/13/2011 5:00:03 PM

noticed in the last couple of days that the whites of my dog's eyes have turned yellow

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janet   bethlehem, PA

9/7/2010 4:28:29 AM

good article thanks

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jackie simmons   dover, DE

7/19/2010 2:25:55 PM

our schnauer has wiping eyes like he has a
allergy
she is always schezzing

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