The uvea is the part of the eye which supplies blood to the retina. It is made up of three parts:
- Ciliary Body
Uveitis is when any of these parts become inflamed. There are 3 types of uveitis:
- Pan-uveitis: inflammation of all three parts
- Anterior uveitis: inflammation of the iris and ciliary body
- Posterior uveitis: inflammation of the choroid
Uveitis is painful and can harm your dog’s vision. If left untreated, uveitis can lead to other conditions like glaucoma, cataracts or retinal disease.
- Infection: viral or bacterial
- Diabetes and high blood pressure
- Injury to the eye
- Autoimmune diseases: the immune system attacks the dog’s own cells
- Cloudy eye
- Red eye
- Bleeding eye
- Squinting and avoiding bright lights
- Extra tearing
- Loss of vision
In order to properly diagnose your dog with uveitis, most veterinarians will perform the following:
- Physical examination: a lot of illnesses include uveitis, so your veterinarian will need to rule out any other conditions
- Eye exam: with an ophthalmoscope or ultrasound
- Blood tests: to check for any underlying diseases
- Measure eye pressure: With uveitis, eye pressure will be low; with glaucoma, eye pressure will be high
- Aspirates: fluid samples taken from the eye with a needle for testing
Most veterinarians will recommend the following treatment for a dog with uveitis:
- Steroids and antibiotics: eye drops, ointments and oral tablets (for pain relief, to reduce inflammation and to prevent glaucoma)
- Surgery: to repair the eye or to remove any foreign object
- Follow up visit: to monitor the eye
For cases of uveitis that are preventable, it is best to avoid eye trauma and exposure to ticks and fungal diseases.
Simple cases of uveitis that you treat quickly and properly usually improve within 24 hours. Cases that are more complicated take a few days to get better.
Severe cases can sometimes result in irreversible blindness.
Uveitis can recur, often with further complications.