Jack Russell Terrier Eye Diseases

By: Richard Cussons

Being considered a working dog, a Jack Russell Terrier needs healthy eyes in order to do his job. Their almond shaped eyes are more important than their coat.

Regular cleaning is not enough to ensure the healthy condition of a Jack Russell Terrier’s eyes. Knowing some of the common eye problems is one way of protecting their eyes from impairment and complete blindness.

Cataracts – A cataract is a hereditary disease characterizes by cloudiness or spot on the lens of the eye. This condition occurs when there is a loss of normal transparency on the lens of the eye. This problem blurs the vision and may lead to blindness if not treated as time goes by. To prevent cataract from progressing into blindness, it should be treated usually through surgical removal of the lens.

Cataract is assumed as a hereditary disease but this may also caused by eye injury, exposure to great heat, radiation, diabetes and old age. Other reasons for the occurrence of cataracts include inflammation, specific metabolic diseases, persistent papillary membrane (PPM) or lack of nourishment.

Distichiasis – Distichiasis occurs when there is an abnormal growth of small hair structures on the inner surface of the upper or lower eyelids.

This abnormal hair growth causes irritation to the cornea. The affected eye will become red, inflamed or may develop a discharge and in some severe cases, the cornea may become ulcerated and appear bluish in color. If left untreated, these hairs can cause irritation and may result to blindness if infections develop.

Distichiasis is treated surgically wherein the lid is split and the areas with abnormal hairs are removed. Antibiotic eye drops is used to help eliminate infections in surgery. Electro-epilation is done through passing of a fine needle into the hair follicle. That follicle is then burned in order to destroy the hair and its roots.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is more common in dogs than in cats. It is a condition of an increased pressure within the eyeball. As the pressure in the eye increases, the cells of vision in the retina on the posterior surface of the eye become damaged and lose the vision. There are two forms of glaucoma; the primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is caused by an inherited abnormal angle at the point where the iris and the cornea meets thus obstructing the exit of fluid from the eye. Secondary glaucoma is caused by inflammation of structures within the eye. This inflammation can be due infections or autoimmune disease, trauma or cancer.

Signs of glaucoma include dilated pupilScience Articles, cloudiness within the cornea and/or enlargement of the blood vessels in the white portion of the eye called sclera. See your veterinarian for advice on how this disease is treated.

And you must always remember that dogs affected with any of these diseases should not be included in any breeding programs to eliminate the spread of diseases among dogs.

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