Bloodhound Eyes
Looking at healthy eyes
by Karen Leshkivich, DVM

Some of our bloodhound's eyes are harder to see than others, but they are a very important part of our hound to check frequently.  Any problem with the eyes should be considered very important since even a minor problem could potentially lead to blindness.

Signs that your hound has a problem with the eyes can include a red eye, tearing, discharge, rubbing or pawing at the eye or squinting.  A red eye can be caused by conjunctivitis (an infection), a foreign body in the eye or under the lid, corneal ulcers, uveitis (inflammation within the interior of the eye) or glaucoma to name only a few. Tearing can occur with any of the above or can be a result of a plugged tear duct.  A thick discharge from the eye (decreased tear production), which can lead to corneal ulcers and loss of vision.  The third eyelid can prolapse resulting in 'cherry eye', or the cartilage in the lid can be too long and result in curling of the third eyelid; either condition can inflame the rest of the eye.  Tumors can affect the eye or eyelids, and may at first not appear to be a problem.

Due to the shape of the bloodhound's eye, with the loose lower lid, the conjunctiva is more exposed than in other dog breeds and therefore more likely to get inflamed or to trap foreign material, such as dust, pollen, grass, etc.  The conjunctiva tends to be slightly pink or reddish, but it looks redder than normal, check your hound's eyes carefully; there could be something trapped in the eye or he could have an infection or other serious problem.  Also, if the blood vessels in the white portion of the eye are very noticeable or red, this is  an indication that there may be a problem in the eye.

The cornea should look clear and shiny; if it looks cloudy, blue, white or any other color, have the eye checked.  If there is injury to the cornea (a scratch, puncture, foreign material), moisture infiltrates the cornea and can cause a bluish or white appearance.  Any injury to the cornea can result in permanent vision loss or impairment if not treated quickly.  Don't ever put an eye medication containing steroids (dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, etc.) in an eye unless your veterinarian tells you to do so.  If there is injury to the cornea, steroids can make the condition worse and potentially lead to loss of the eye.  Many injuries to the eye heal quickly of treated properly.   Even a puncture of the eye does not mean loss of the eye if treated quickly and correctly.  One of my dogs walked right into a fence and punctured her cornea with the wire, yet she did not lose the eye.

Chronic irritation to the cornea can result in pigment deposits that result in vision loss.  Medications can avoid these deposits  or reduce the rate at which they build up.  Dry eye (or KCS), a condition resulting from low tear production, results in a dry cornea and can lead to corneal ulcers as well as pigment deposits.  Often there is a thick ropy discharge from the eye if there is insufficient tear production to keep the cornea lubricated.  Dry eye should be treated appropriately to avoid ulcers and vision loss.  There is a special test your vet can do to determine the tear production, and there are medications that can stimulate increased tear production.

If your dog becomes light sensitive, is squinting and rubbing at the eyes, then he could have inflammation within the eye, or uveitis.  Anything from an infection elsewhere in the body, parasites, injury or cancer can cause uveitis.  If treated, uveitis usually resolves, but be sure to have it checked out to be sure that there is not an underlying problem.

The pupil of the eye usually looks black to us.  It is the opening in the iris into the interior of the eyeball.  If, when you look at your hound's eye, the pupil looks hazy, this may mean that the lens (which sits behind the pupil) is developing a cataract or just some age-realted thickening.  A sudden change in appearance of the lens (a sudden cataract) can happen with diabetes.

Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure within the eye is elevated.  This can be caused by inflammation, infection, heredity, injury or cancer.  If glaucoma goes untreated, it can result in a very painful eye and eventually loss of vision.  If your hound's eye looks red, the vessels in the white of the eye look prominent or the eye itself looks larger than normal, have it checked out immediately.  Glaucoma can be treated and controlled with medications.

Our hound's eyes can tell us that they love us; they can say that they are happy or hungry or sad.  look into your hound's eyes daily and ensure that they are healthy too.  Although bloodhounds rely on that nose, they also need their eyes.

Diseases of the Eye and Observed Signs

 
Loss of vision
Change in appearance
Ocular discharge
Pain
Eyelids        
entropion
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+/-
+
+
ectropion
-
+/-
+/-
-
neoplasia
-
+
+/-
-
trauma
-
+
+/-
+
Conjunctiva and Third Eyelid        
prolapse of third eyelid
-
+
+/-
-
eversion of cartilage of lid
-
+
-
-
conjunctivitis
-
+
+
+/-
neoplasia
-
+
+/-
-
trauma
-
+
+/-
+
Lacrimal System        
KCS
+/-
+
+
+/-
neoplasia
-
+
+/-
-
trauma
-
+
+/-
+/-
Cornea & Sclera Pigmentation        
eyelid abnormalities
+/-
+
+
+/-
KCS
+/-
+
+
+/-
superficial keratitis
+/-
+
+/-
-
Corneal Edema        
ulcers
+/-
+
+
+
papillary membrane
-
+
-
-
uveitis
+/-
+
+/-
+
glaucoma
+
+
-
+/-
neoplasia
+/-
+
-
-
Lens        
cataract
+/-
+
-
-
nuclear sclerosis
-
+/-
-
-
lens luxation
+/-
+/-
-
+/-
Posterior Segment        
retinal sclerosis
+
-
-
-
retinal degeneration
+
-
-
-
retinal detachment
+
-
-
-
Globe as a Whole        
neoplasia
+/-
+
+/-
+/-
proptosis
+/-
+
+/-
+