Seriously, a dog eye doctor? Most dogs and cats and birds and bunnies, and any pet, never have to see an eye doctor, but sometimes things happen and they do! A veterinary ophthalmologist is a veterinarian that has gone through special training and has passed an examination making them board certified through the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.
Dogs are more likely to see a veterinary ophthalmologist than other animals. This may be due to the vast number of pure breed dogs and designer mixed breeds that have been bred to look a certain way, and in so doing, caused certain genetic mutations to be passed on resulting in a variety of medical problems including eye problems. These include eyelid issues (e.g. entropion, ectropion, distichia, ectopic cilia, etc), cataracts or lens luxations, retinal degeneration (aka Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA), and many others. Some of these problems are surgically correctable, while others are not. However, having your dog evaluated before issues begin, or before they progress, can help you and your pet learn all you can to keep your pets’ eyes as healthy as possible!
Cats are less likely to develop inherited eye problems, though some pure breeds can also inherit eye diseases! Similar to dogs, certain breeds develop cataracts and retinal degeneration, as well as others.
But, any dog, cat bird, bunny, horse, or other beloved pet can hurt their eye! Trauma to the eyelids or cornea are common causes for coming to the veterinary eye doctor! Corneal ulcers are one of the most reasons to visit the veterinary ophthalmologist. Many corneal ulcers are successfully treated by the pet’s general veterinarian. However, sometimes corneal ulcers become complicated by aggressive infections or have foreign bodies like plant material embedded in them. Sometimes, corneal ulcers cause a significant amount of the corneal tissue to degrade and require a surgical repair procedure to regain the strength of the cornea and in most cases, retain sight.
Aging also causes some eye problems to occur! Some of these include dry eye disease, indolent corneal ulcers, calcium keratopathy, corneal endothelial degeneration, nuclear sclerosis, and age related retinal degeneration.
If you think your dog, cat bird, bunny, or other beloved pet needs an eye examination, or you just want to make sure their eyes are normal, give us a call!