Anterior uveitis in dogs can cause redness, tearing, and rapid squinting in your pet's eyes, and as a result, actually change some of their behavior patterns.
Although this is primarily an eye disease, it could be the result of something much more sinister that is the underlying cause.
Dogs cannot tell us what is wrong with them or what hurts, but they can certainly communicate it.
This inflammation can be extremely painful to your dog and it can rapidly affect their vision.
If you watch them very closely, it can also help you identify other medical issues that are starting to develop.
Examining your dog’s eyes daily for any type of discoloration or discharge, as well as any type of swelling, can help prevent serious damage to your pets eyes.
It can also help you identify several infections or diseases that may be starting in your pet.
Your dog’s eyes are the vessels to everything that they do in their life and like us, it is extremely important that they remain healthy at all times.
Anterior uveitis in dogs is an inflammation of your dog’s eyes that affects the front portion of the eye that is called the uvea.
The uvea is the middle layer of eye beneath the white portion and is the part of the eye where the dark colored tissue that contains the blood vessels in the eyes resides.
It controls many of your dog’s eye functions, such as adjusting to different levels of light as well as properly judging distances.
This inflammation can also affect the iris, which is the tissue that makes up the pupil in the eye.
For this reason, when you examine your dog’s eyes, it is also very important to become as familiar as possible with them.
Any changes in the pupil can be warning signs to several different conditions.
There are several potential causes of anterior uveitis in dogs and the inflammation that is building in your pet’s eye.
Older dogs are generally affected by tumors, while all other age groups are affected by some type of infectious agent, especially dogs that spend most of their time outdoors.
There are some breeds that may be genetically inclined to an immune-mediated condition.
Immune mediated causes are the most common and can be especially dangerous to your dog as this is a condition where your pets own immune system actually attacks itself.
Large breeds of dogs are most commonly affected with this form of the inflammation.
The next common causes are from viral, parasite, bacterial, or fungi infections.
Viral diseases are generally the cause of this inflammation in young dogs that have not been properly vaccinated, with the most common infections being distemper and adenovirus.
Dogs from four months to two years old are the most at risk, especially with distemper, as this is a viral infection that is spread through the air and infects bodily fluids.
The central point of attack is the fluid in your dog’s eyes.
Bacterial infections also poise a huge risk to your dog and the bacterial infections that most commonly cause anterior uveitis in dogs are Lyme disease and Leptospirosis.
Lyme disease in dogs is one of the fastest growing bacterial infections.
However, kidney bacterial infections can also very easily be the cause as they will spread directly to your dog’s eyes.
Fungi infections are most common in parts of the world where there are large areas of stagnant waters, especially ponds.
Fungi infections are especially dangerous to your dog’s eyes as they affect both the front as well as the back portions, and can result in a loss of vision in your dog.
Metabolic diseases can also be the underlying cause of anterior uveitis in dogs as the uvea is simply an extension of your dog’s blood circulating system.
The underlying diseases are mellitus diabetes, hypertension, and pancreatitis.
However, cataracts can also be a contributing factor as lens-induced anterior uveitis can develop as the result of protein slowly leaking into your dog’s eyes.
The most serious form of this type of uveitis is caused by a trauma that has also penetrated the lens of the eyes.
As your dog ages, they are faced with an entirely different set of potential causes of anterior uveitis; several types of tumors.
There are four different types of tumors that will affect an older pet and trigger Anterior uveitis in dogs; Lymphoma, Melanoma, Adenoma, and Metastatic tumors.
By watching your dog’s eyes very closely, you can tell if they are developing tumors as well as tell which type of tumors that they may have as they each have distinctive signs.
Lymphoma tumors will affect the iris and as a result it starts to develop a very thick covering that is either yellow or pink in coloration, while melanoma tumors will cause the iris to turn a very dark brown color.
Adenoma tumors will show entirely different symptoms as there will be very thick and fluffy white areas that develop in your dog’s eyes and can be seen in or around the pupil.
It has also been described as if you can almost see through the pupil.
However, the most severe of all the tumors are metastatic tumors as these can develop anywhere in your dog’s body and then attack the eyes.
These are especially dangerous as they affect both the front and the back of the eyes.
There are several symptoms that you can watch for that your pet is developing anterior uveitis in dogs, but the key is to become as familiar as you can with your dog’s eyes.
When you look at them, look very close and deep and examine them in a well lit room or with a very dim flashlight as a regular flashlight will hurt your dog’s eyes.
The first symptom that you will see will be redness, as this is the initial sign of the inflammation.
As the inflammation starts to increase, your dog’s eyes will start to tear up.
Tearing is common if your dog’s eyes have been irritated and it most cases if it is just a slight irritation it will dissipate rapidly.
However, if it is anterior uveitis it will be persistent and this is a warning sign.
Squinting is the next symptom and this usually leads to a very small or uneven shaped pupil.
If you watch your dog’s eyes closely, this will stick out to you as soon as you spot it.
Also watch for any type of cloudy or dull appearance or an unevenly colored iris. This is the most telling symptom of all.
Your dog’s eyes are their beacon to life and an insight into their sole.
Anterior uveitis in dogs can threaten this magnificent tool in your pet.
Understanding and knowing your dog’s eyes as well as you do your own, can help to catch this very painful condition in the early stages.