Eye Problems in Dogs and Cats
Eye problems in dogs and cats are a common reason for vet visits. Both dogs and cats can develop eye infections from foreign bodies and/or any number of bacteria, viruses or fungi. Typically, eye problems in dogs and cats can be treated with ophthalmic medications.
When dealing with eye issues in pets, veterinarians will generally perform a clinical examination and discuss history of symptoms. Pet owners often report irritation, swelling, redness and discharge. If left untreated these symptoms can even develop into a general systemic infection and cause fever, lethargy and weakness. Veterinarians may also recommend laboratory tests for a more specific diagnosis.
Dogs and cats can also suffer with dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS) a condition that can be caused by certain medications, trauma and or environmental conditions. Pet owners may attempt to treat with OTC lubricant or artificial tears. If the condition persists or worsens, veterinarians may prescribe an immunosuppressant drop such as cyclosporine or tacrolimus.
Cats may deal with additional eye problems, including conjunctivitis and keratitis associated with feline herpes virus (FHV-1). Cidofovir and Idoxuridine are two eye drops that can be prescribed by a veterinarian and compounded through a veterinary compounding pharmacy as treatment.
[Call Pacific Pharmacy Solutions to speak with a pharmacist about all the eye medications available for your pets. (707) 583-1275. Pacific Pharmacy Solutions is a branch of Golden Gate Veterinary Compounding Pharmacy]
Most common eye infections in dogs or cats, are easily diagnosed and are treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments. Eye drops for animals are usually very safe to use, but do require proper dosage and administration.
Administration of any medication can be challenging with pets, especially eye medication for a dog or cat that is uncomfortable. One approach recommends placing your pet on a table, applying pressure to their muzzle with your non-dominant hand, while carefully applying the medication with your dominant hand. Another restraint method would be to lay your dog or cat on his/her side and using your upper body to restrain, while again, applying the medication with your dominant hand. It may be best to wrap cats (and small dogs) firmly in a towel.
Dog and cat eye medication should be applied directly onto the surface of the eye or in the small gap between the lower eyelid and the surface of the eye. It is important to note that you should not touch the surface of the eye with the dropper or medication container, to avoid contamination. Once the medication is administered, open and close the eyelid several times to ensure the spread of the medication over the entire surface of the eye.
After the eye medication is applied remember to wipe the dropper or container clean and secure the lid for storage. Administering eye medication to a pet can be a traumatic experience, so offer them a lot of praise and love and/or even a special treat.