Canine Scleritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the white outer layer of eyes known as the sclera. It’s a relatively rare, but serious condition that can affect any dog breed. Scleritis occurs when the tissue around the eye becomes inflamed and irritated, leading to pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area. If left untreated, scleritis can become a chronic condition, resulting in long-term damage to their eyes.
Scleritis is often caused by an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissue. It can also be caused by bacterial or viral infections, tumors, or physical trauma. Some dog breeds are more prone to developing scleritis than others, including German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers.
Symptoms of Canine Scleritis
The symptoms of scleritis include:
- Pain in the affected area
In some cases, a cloudy or opaque appearance could be present. If your dog is squinting, blinking excessively, or rubbing at their eye, it could signal that something is wrong. It’s important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible if you think that they have scleritis.
Diagnosing Canine Scleritis
In order to diagnose scleritis, your veterinarian will need to perform a physical examination and obtain their medical history information. They could also use imaging tests such as ultrasound, X-ray, or CT scan to rule out any underlying conditions. Your veterinarian might also suggest a laboratory test to analyze the fluid in their eye for signs of infection.
Stages of Canine Scleritis
Scleritis typically progresses in three stages: acute, subacute, and chronic. The stage of scleritis is determined by the severity of their symptoms and how long they have been present.
The Acute stage is associated with intense inflammation and redness in the affected area. Symptoms are usually more severe at this stage and can progress rapidly.
The Subacute stage is associated with a reduction in pain, redness, and swelling. At this stage, the inflammation will still be present but it’s less severe than during the acute phase.
The Chronic stage is associated with persistent inflammation in the eye that has been present for more than 3 months. At this point, the eye might be scarred and long-term damage could be present.
Treating Canine Scleritis
Treating scleritis depends on the cause of their condition and its severity. Treatment options can include anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids, antibiotics, or immunosuppressants. Surgery can also be used in more severe cases to remove any underlying tumors or to repair damaged tissue. In some cases, medical treatment might not be necessary and the condition will resolve on its own.
It’s important to note that scleritis can cause long-term damage if it’s not treated quickly and appropriately. If you think your dog might have scleritis, it’s important to consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations.
Preventing Canine Scleritis
The best way to prevent scleritis is to take proactive steps to ensure your dog’s general health and well-being. This includes feeding them a balanced diet, giving them regular exercise, and proper veterinary care. It’s important to be aware of any signs or symptoms of scleritis in order to get treatment as soon as possible.