Pet Health

Corneal Ulcer in Pets: Signs, Diagnosis, and Treatment

If your family pet shows distress, it could be brought on by pain or extreme discomfort. Commonly, a change of behavior signals this. A cat or a dog may keep pawing its face or rubbing its head on furniture or carpet. When you see these odd activities, pay attention.

Be mindful, and see if your pet is squinting or blinking more than normal. If there is a soreness, swelling, or yellowish/bloody ocular discharge, this can indicate a corneal ulcer. It might be time to visit the veterinarian.

What is a corneal ulcer?

Before answering the question, we should first find out how the cornea is. The eye’s cornea is a thin transparent membrane on the front part of the eye. The cornea has three layers– the epithelium on the outside, the stroma in the middle, and the innermost layer called Descemet’s membrane.

A damaged epithelium is referred to as an abrasion or erosion. If the damage reaches the stroma, this is the condition that is called a corneal ulcer. This condition is excruciating, and prolonging it might cause more injury to the eye.

If the ulcer reaches the next layer, this might cause a more severe condition called a descemetocele. Should Descemet’s membrane rupture, the liquid inside the eye leaks. It causes the eye to collapse and may cause permanent damage. Before the eye reaches this level of damage, treatment needs to be done.

What are the causes of corneal ulcers?

Most of the time, trauma is the factor. Skidding on rough ground or a scratch during a fight might wound the cornea. Sometimes, chemicals, abnormal hair growth, or dry eyes might be the cause. Bacterial or viral infections and parasites may likewise cause the problem. To eliminate problems caused by parasites, why not check this page?

However, for some breeds, epithelial dystrophy or weak corneas are hereditary. Brachycephalic breeds of dogs are prone to it due to the structure of their eyes. Pets with endocrine disorders may also be victims.

What kind of treatment is needed?

If you assume damage to the cornea, bring your pet to a trusted veterinary center like Harbor Animal Hospital. To verify if the case is a corneal ulcer, a fluorescein stain test is carried out. An orange-colored stain is placed on the cornea and turns green when it sticks to the ulcers.

Superficial abrasions can be treated with medication. Ophthalmic antibiotic eye drops and ointments can quicken the healing process but must be administered frequently.

Surgical treatment is needed for severe corneal ulcers that do not respond to medication or if a descemetocele has formed. Conjunctival tissue is transposed over the impacted ulcer. Then the veterinarian surgeon might suture the third eyelid to shield the eye. After the advised recovery time, the pet must be returned to the vet to ensure the ulcer has healed.

Is surgical treatment always effective?

Normal healing is not always achieved after surgery. In certain cases, dead or dying cells build up around the ulcer. This is referred to as indolent corneal ulcers and is more typical in older pets. To fix this problem, surgical removal of these cells is required.

Keratectomy is carried out by putting the animal under general anesthesia. The eye veterinarian makes tiny grooves on the stroma using a tool called a diamond burr. This procedure encourages the abnormal cells to self-heal, and the perforation allows new epithelial cells to attach.

The Final Note

If ever you see your cat or dog displaying signs, do not think twice about getting it looked at by the vet. Always follow the vet’s recommendations in such scenarios because corneal ulcers are always progressive and aggressive. Quick action can save your pet’s eye.

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