One of the most appealing traits of the pug are his huge, spherelike eyes. However, eyes that large and protruding on such a flat little face can incur a multitude of problems. Think about it--wherever your pug sticks his flat nose, his eyes are right there, so it's quite easy for him to get dirt in his eyes, to scratch them with a sticks or leaves, or to even get food in them while he's dining. It is not too unusual for a pug to have an eye actually dislodged by a larger dog or a rough-playing child. In addition to external problems, by nature of his breed your pug is susceptible to a number of inherited eye ailments. The best thing that you can do is be vigilant: keep your pug safe from rough play, have his eyes examined regularly by a veterinarian and keep your eye on his eyes for signs of problems.
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Ulcers (an abrasion or lesion on the eye surface) are probably the most common eye problem in pugs. Your pug may acquire a corneal ulcer in a number of ways: trauma, dry eyes, infection, a foreign body like sand or dirt, or even an eyelash that has grown in the wrong direction. The signs that your pug may have a corneal ulcer include tearing, squinting, avoidance of light, a murky cloud on the eye and the appearance of the third eyelid. If you suspect an ulcer, your pug needs immediate veterinary attention to relieve his pain and prevent further eye damage.
A cataract is an altered protein formation that develops on the eye lens that can be inherited or caused by trauma, inflammation or diabetes. A cataract will appear on the surface of your pug's eye as a cloudy film. At first the cataract may not be bothersome, but if left untreated it can cause loss of vision, glaucoma, retinal detachment and degeneration. Because of the tender nature of your pug's eyes, it is essential that a veterinarian treat the cataract immediately.
Entropion is a genetic condition in which the eyelids roll inward, causing hair and eyelashes to rub against the surface of the eye, which can result in corneal scratches, ulcers, irritation and, if left untreated, blindness. According to Pug Central, it most commonly occurs on the bottom lid in the corner closest to the nose. If your pug has entropion, you may notice her tearing and blinking more than usual. Your pug must have the entropion surgically corrected.
Exposure Keratopathy Syndrome
Exposure keratopathy syndrome is when your pug cannot completely close his eyelids when he is sleeping. If left untreated, the exposed portion of the corneas will dry out and visible stripes of pigmentation will form across the centres of your pug's eyes. Your vet may prescribe a lubricant that you can apply to your pug's eyes to keep the corneas moist.
Pigmentary keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea, characterised by brown spots spattered across the surface of the eyes. It is typically thought to result from trauma. Your veterinarian may prescribe a steroid like cyclosporine or Gentocin Dura-Film, or he may opt to perform surgery to remove the spots.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye, is a common condition in pugs whereby their eyes simply do not produce enough tears. It may be genetic, or it can be caused by trauma, antibiotics, allergies, viruses or exposure to anaesthesia. Symptoms of keratoconjunctivitis sicca include redness, discharge and pain (you may notice your pug rubbing her eyes). Your veterinarian may prescribe a topical steroid like cyclosporine to increase tear production, and artificial tears to supply extra moisture.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
PRA is an inherited condition that causes the slow degeneration of your pug's retinas, leading to blindness by the time your pug reaches middle age (5 to 7 years). Symptoms of PRA are subtle; he may experience night blindness or you may notice a faint light shining from his eyes due to dilated pupils. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for PRA.
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