Blepharitis in Dogs
Blepharitis refers to a condition that involves inflammation of the outer skin and middle (muscle, connective tissue, and glands) portions of the eyelids. This condition is also usually seen with the secondary inflammation of the inner surface of the eyelid.
What causes Blepharitis?
- Congenital defects of the eye
- Bacterial and viral infections
- Traumatic injuries such as eyelid lacerations or chemical burns
- Parasitic infections
What are the symptoms of Blepharitis?
- Scaly, flaky skin near the eye
- Intense itching, scratching of the eye
- Watery, mucous or pus containing eye discharge
- Oedema and thickening of the eyelids
- Loss of hair
- Loss of skin pigmentation around an affected area
- Papule formation (a small inflamed elevation of skin without pus)
- Pustule formation (a small inflamed elevation of skin with pus in it)
How is Blepharitis diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will take a thorough history of the dog’s health and perform a complete physical examination. A sample from the affected ocular area (or surrounding skin) may be collected to identify the causative microorganism if present. These samples can be cultured to grow the bacteria, parasites, or fungus. A Schirmer Tear Test is also frequently conducted to determine whether the eye produces enough tears to keep it moist. If a food allergy is suspected to be the cause, further testing may be required to identify the food allergen. A biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count may also be recommended to rule out any systemic disease.
How is Blepharitis treated?
The course of treatment will depend ultimately on the underlying cause of the disease. In cases of self-trauma, for example, your veterinarian may recommend the use of an Elizabethan collar (cone). Bacterial and viral infections may require antibiotic and other supportive medication. More severe cases, on the other hand, may require surgery. In cases of food allergy, the food allergen must be identified and eliminated from the diet.
Any condition of the eye requires immediate attention, and it is never safe to gamble on your dog’s eyesight. Remember that early detection and treatment could make a world of difference in your dog’s health.
Here’s to a happy pet!
Dr. Ashitha Suresh