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My Dog Has Blue Eyes - Causes and Treatment

 
By MarĂ­a Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. July 7, 2019
My Dog Has Blue Eyes - Causes and Treatment

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We love to look into our dogs eyes and feel close to each other. If we notice certain changes in coloration, we should know this is not a normal sign. There are certain circumstances which can lead to blue eyes in dogs. It might not be something you see occurring immediately, often progressing over time. Whether it is due to advancement in age or something more immediate, we need to act quickly to get the best prognosis for our dog.

If you see that your dog has blue eyes, then it is important to know the causes of this discoloration and see if there are treatment options available. Before AnimalWised brings you more information, we want to highlight the importance of vaccination in both adult and puppy dogs. Proper vaccinations schedules will best prevent conditions related to blue eyes in dogs.

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Diseases that cause blue eyes in dogs

We should state that the first reason your dog has blue eyes might not be a discoloration. While most dogs have an eye color which is some shade of brown, it is possible for certain breeds to have blue eyes throughout their lifetime. One of the most common blue-eyed dog breeds is the Siberian Husky.

Another curious fact about blue eyes in dogs is that many puppies will have blue eyes when they first open them. This then changed as they age into adolescence, becoming their natural color in a few months time. If you look closely, you can often see the flecks of color appear gradually. It's important to know this is a natural process and not a sign of disease.

If the dog's eye is turning blue unnaturally, then there are not many possible causes. Generally, there are two reason why your dog's eyes have turned blue. They are:

There are other diseases which can lead to eyes changing color. They include cataracts, corneal dystrophy, glaucoma or uveitis. With these diseases, the eyes are not likely to turn blue. Instead, they will grow cloudy or achieve a whitish hue. It is possible there is a blue tinge, but it may depend on the light and original eye color.

My Dog Has Blue Eyes - Causes and Treatment - Diseases that cause blue eyes in dogs

Interstitial keratitis

Among the many eye diseases which can affect dogs, not many can cause the eye to appear blue. With interstitial keratitis, the cause of the color change is the inflammation of the cornea. Interstitial means the inflammation is occurring between the cells of the cornea. The result is a whitish film which appears over the eye. The cause is the infectious canine hepatitis virus, something we will discuss further in the next section.

With interstitial keratitis in dogs, you will see the dog developing the white film over their eye. This film can look blue, but to varying degrees. This will occur about 10 days after the dog has been exposed to the virus and become infected. The dog will also have concurrent symptoms of:

  • Excessive tearing
  • Strabismus (misalignment of eyes)
  • Photophobia (becomes increasingly sensitive to light)

It is possible for interstitial keratitis to relieve itself spontaneously and the dog to make a full recovery. However, it is also possible the dog will maintain the blue color for the rest of their lives.

Canine infectious hepatitis

This variation of hepatitis strain is caused by a virus, specifically by the canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1). Although fortunately not very common, it is incredibly contagious. The main reason it is not widespread is due to the hard work of canine vaccination strategists. As part of a puppy's initial vaccinations and their yearly boosters, a vaccination against CAV-1 is given. This is why the highest percentages of cases occur in dogs under the age of one year.

Once the virus is in the dog's system, it reproduces within the body's tissues. This means that it can then be eliminated from the body via various secretions. These include blood, nasal discharge, saliva, feces and urine. This is why it is highly contagious, especially in dogs which spend a lot of time together. Even when the dog recovers, their urine can still be contagious between 9 months and a year. The disease usually enters through the mouth or nostrils. It will then spread to the liver and kidneys.

Individual dogs respond in various ways, depending on a number of factors. Some dogs will not even display symptoms, others can die in a matter of hours. There are many variations between these two extremes, but we always need to be careful of symptoms. The change in color of the eye is due to edema, i.e. liquid filling up between the layers of cells. The eyes can be given a whitish coloration, but the eye turning blue can also occur.

Other symptoms of CAV-1 include:

  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Photophobia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood changes/depression

Even when a dog recovers, the blue or white colorations over the eye might remain. It will depend on the acuteness of the symptoms and the progression of the infection. More commonly, the blue color will disappear afer a few days of its own accord.

Nuclear sclerosis

Nuclear sclerosis in dogs is a physiological degeneration which can occur in all mammals, including human beings. This means it is a normal consequence of age. In canines it is also known as lenticular sclerosis as it forms a blueish haze over the lens of the eye. The look is quite similar to that of the beginning of a cataract, but it is imperative we distinguish between the two.

The reason for an appropriate diagnosis is due to potential loss of vision. With nuclear sclerosis, the haze over the eye doesn't necessarily affect the dog's vision. With cataracts, this can occur and surgical intervention may be required. Lenticular sclerosis can affect vision, but only if the lens grows very dense, something not common in dogs.

My Dog Has Blue Eyes - Causes and Treatment - Nuclear sclerosis
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Treatment for blue eyes in dogs

As we have stated throughout the article, the development of blue eyes in dogs are the result of hepatitis or a degeneration which occurs due to age. In neither of the two causes is a direct treatment administered. Instead, the symptoms themselves are addressed. After a case of infectious canine hepatitis, the blue coloration should resolve itself naturally. Since nuclear sclerosis is a degenerative condition caused by the ageing process, there is no current treatment. The best course of action is to ensure their general well-being to give them the best chance at slowing the degeneration.

With both CAV-1 and nuclear sclerosis, a diagnosis by the veterinarian is necessary. For the former, it is important to know what symptoms exist so that they can be treated and help the body to overcome the hepatitis. For nuclear sclerosis, we need to be sure of the correct diagnosis in case it is a treatable condition. However, the most important action is prevention. This means keeping up with a dog'c vaccination schedule.

While the canine hepatitis virus can live in an environment for up to a matter of months. If our dog has a case of CAV-1 infection, we need to properly clean any area with which they have come in contact as well as any accessories they may possess.

My Dog Has Blue Eyes - Causes and Treatment - Treatment for blue eyes in dogs

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Has Blue Eyes - Causes and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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