Symptoms of Corneal Ulcers in Dogs and Cats

Symptoms of corneal ulcer in pets
  • Increased tears
  • Mucous discharge
  • Cloudy cornea
  • Elevated third eyelid

Pets with corneal ulcer or corneal irritation have pink, teary eyes. These pets rub their eyes because they hurt. They squint to keep out light because the pupil moves in response to light, and any movement within the eye causes more pain. Pain stimulates the muscles that surround the eye, and they allow the eye to sink a little deeper into the protective orbit of the skull. With the eyeball a little recessed, the thin mucous cover, the third eyelid, slides up from its normally hidden position at the inside corner of the eye and covers part of the eye. The third eyelid often looks pink. You may also notice that the thin, clear layer over the top of the eye, the cornea, becomes cloudy.

Diagnosis of corneal ulcer in dogs and cats

To check the cornea and conjunctiva of your pet's eye, your veterinarian will:

  • Use an ophthalmoscope
  • Check tear production with a Schirmer tear test
  • Put drops of fluorescence dye in the eye to check for corneal scratches or ulcers
  • Observe that the dye flows down the nasolacrimal tear duct as it should.

To identify bacterial, viral or fungal infections, your veterinarian will take a swab of your pet's eye and submit it to the laboratory for culture.