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Anterior Uveitis in Dogs

Anterior uveitis is inflammation in the front of the eye.

The uvea, between the cornea and the retina, contains several important structures, including the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. It helps nourish both the retina and the cornea, and the iris controls how dilated the pupil is and, thus, how much light gets into the eye.

Anterior uveitis is inflammation of the uvea.

Causes of Canine Anterior Uveitis

Uveitis commonly occurs as a secondary complication of something going on elsewhere in the body. Some of those primary causes include:

  • Metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus
  • Infections like distemper, Lyme disease, and leptospirosis
  • Heartworm disease
  • Autoimmune disease

Uveitis may also occur due to a local problem with the eye itself, including:

Finally, anterior uveitis in dogs may be idiopathic, which means that no underlying cause can be identified.

Signs of Anterior Uveitis in Dogs

Anterior uveitis is painful for dogs, so you will usually see signs of pain when they have it, along with several other indications.

  • Pawing at the eyes or rubbing them on things
  • Squinting
  • Redness in the whites of the eyes
  • Ocular drainage
  • Small or oddly-shaped pupil
  • Cloudy appearance to the eye

Diagnosis of Canine Anterior Uveitis

If you see any problem with your dog's eye, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. In order to diagnose anterior uveitis, the doctor will talk with you to obtain a full medical history. Then, he or she will do a thorough physical examination, including an eye evaluation.

The veterinarian will measure the IOP (intraocular pressure) of your dog's eye with a tonometer. Pressure is often abnormally low in dogs with uveitis.

Other tests such blood and urine tests and ultrasound may be used to help diagnose any underlying condition once uveitis is diagnosed. Your dog may also be referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Treatment of Anterior Uveitis in Dogs

Eye drops to control pain and inflammation are usually prescribed to a dog with anterior uveitis. From there, if an underlying cause has been identified for the uveitis, that will need to be treated.

Glaucoma, or high IOP, is a common complication of uveitis, so your veterinarian will want to treat the uveitis aggressively and recheck your dog often during uveitis treatment.

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