Orchard Vet's Blog

Pet Eye Health Awareness Week


We know that eye health is important but how often do you take your pet’s eye health into account? Eye problems are often painful and, if left untreated, may result in sight loss. That’s why understanding the symptoms and getting a vet appointment early is essential. Eye problems can also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions, so the quicker you can see your vet, the better.

Here are some common symptoms of eye disease to look out for:


A red eye is most commonly due to inflammation which can occur anywhere in or around the eye. One of the earliest signs of many eye problems is a red eye. There may also be discharge, irritation and swelling present.

Common causes of redness:

Allergies or irritants
Foreign object in the eye
Dry Eye
Uveitis (inflammation inside the eye)
Corneal Ulcers
Cherry Eye


The eyes are very sensitive due to their dense network of nerve endings. Irritation is common and is usually an indicator of a painful or itchy eye. Pain can manifest as pawing or rubbing at the eye, squinting or increased blink rate, excessive tearing, sensitivity to light and vocalisation. Itchy eyes may be due to allergies, infections or skin conditions.


Discharge can range from watery to sticky/thick and be a variety of colours. Normal healthy eyes should be clear and bright so if you notice any discharge you should contact us.

Dull/cloudy/change in colour

A healthy pet has bright and shiny eyes. If your pet has dull-looking eyes it could be a sign of dry eye. Cloudy-looking eyes can be due to fluid or cellular infiltrate into the cornea or issues with the lens (e.g. cataracts). Call us if there is any change in colour of any part of the eye(s).

Conditions most likely to cause cloudy or opaque eyes:

- Cataracts
- Uveitis- inflammation inside the eye
- Pannus- autoimmune inflammation in the cornea, German Shepherds are predisposed - Injury or damage to the eye/s
- Corneal ulcers or scratches
- Dry Eye
- Glaucoma


Both eyes should look the same so a sudden or gradual change in appearance between eyes can indicate a problem. Look out for differences in shape, size, colour or pupil size.

Loss of vision, or declining vision

Loss of vision can be sudden or gradual depending on the cause and it can sometimes go unnoticed as their other senses are much more heightened than ours. A common symptom of vision loss might be your pet bumping into things, often initially in dim light where vision loss is gradual.

Symptoms of acute eyesight loss you may notice are:

- Changes in the appearance of the eye
- Confusion/disorientation
- Easily startled or nervous
- Slow and cautious movement
- Getting lost outside
- Unable to find toys, food dishes, water etc.
- Not wanting to go out at night

Remember- it is important to be vigilant regarding our pet’s eye health as the earlier a problem is identified the more likely it can be successfully treated. Check your pet’s eyes daily so you know what is normal for him/her and to get them used to having their eyes examined.

For more information on Pet Eye Health Awareness Week visit the TVM website.