what your pet's eyes can say about their health

Posted by Dr. Jules Benson on Aug 11 2009


Gazing into your pet’s eyes -- it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. As a pet parent, it’s one of your top priorities. After all, regular home eye exams are the first step in keeping your pet’s eyes healthy. And there’s no better way to bond with your pet. So take the time to look closely at your pet’s beautiful eyes to pick up on signs of infection or injury. Here’s what to look for:

Perfect Pupils. Some pets’ left and right eyes have slightly different sized pupils. But if you notice one pupil changing in size, it may be an indication of infection, trauma or neurological disease that needs your vet’s attention.

Bright Eyes. Look closely at the tear production and color of your pet’s eye. Some tear production is normal. However, if your pet’s eyes tear profusely, it could be a sign of a disease process like an allergic reaction or even a foreign body in the eye that could damage the cornea. Excessive redness of the eyelid or eye itself can also tip off your vet to conjunctivitis, allergies or other conditions of the eyes that can often be treated with prescription eye medications.

Clear Views. One of the most obvious changes you might see in your pet’s eye is a change to their lenses. Like humans, pets are prone to diseases like cataracts and glaucoma and a change in the clarity of eye is often the primary sign of these diseases. If you notice graying of any part of the eye underneath the surface (or “cornea”), have your pet seen by their veterinarian.

Smooth Surfaces. Even a slight scratch to your pet’s eye can be extremely painful. Often, your vet will need to stain the eye to see any cuts or areas of ulceration so if your pet’s eye seems sore (rubbing at the eye or squinting can be signs of this), seek veterinary care immediately to prevent further damage. Don’t worry about the bills. Just stay current on your Petplan pet insurance, and all veterinary costs for injuries are covered in full.

So go ahead, gaze away. It’s not only a healthy habit, but the highlight of your pet’s day.