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Uveitis In Dogs – Cause, Symptoms, & Treatment

Uveitis In Dogs

What Is Uveitis In Dogs?

Uveitis is defined as inflammation of the vascular intraocular uveal tract, which is composed of the iris, choroid, and ciliary body. Anterior uveitis (iridocyclitis) refers to inflammation in the middle layer of the eye (anterior segment) affecting the iris and ciliary body. Posterior uveitis (choroiditis) describes inflammation of the back part of the uvea called the choroid, while chorioretinitis is a type of posterior uveitis that includes neighboring retinal involvement. Panuveitis (Diffuse uveitis) describes inflammation of all uveal tissues with no particular site of major inflammation.

Uveitis can be either acute or chronic and can be unilateral (one eye) or bilateral (both eyes). Systemic causes can result in both unilateral and bilateral uveitis. In general, there are numerous and often elusive causes for uveitis. uveitis treatment is dependent on the possible underlying cause as it is necessary for the preservation of comfort and vision.

The Etiologies also depend on the dog’s environment, geographic location, breed, age, sex, and even travel history. To help further classify underlying causes of uveitis, several grouping categories have been proposed. Etiologies may be classified based on systemic or endogenous causes (e.g. neoplastic, infectious) and external or exogenous causes (e.g. traumatic, toxic, radiation).

In general, exogenous causes can be immediately identified (e.g. accidental bleach, cleaning products or penetrating ocular injury, etc.) While unseen trauma is often a most plausible “reason” for the owner and vet, this is a rare cause of uveitis, particularly if there are no other systemic or periocular symptoms of trauma.

Exogenous causes of uveitis are far more common than Endogenous and, per se, can be difficult to figure out. Endogenous causes can be further classified depending on primary ocular disease (e.g. pigmentary uveitis, intraocular neoplasia, lens-induced uveitis) versus systemic disease (e.g. immune-mediated, infectious, metabolic, toxic, neoplastic, idiopathic).

The most common underlying etiology is Systemic causes, which pose a diagnostic challenge for the vets. The leading cause of secondary glaucoma in dogs is Anterior uveitis and it is often a globe-threatening and vision-threatening condition.

Symptoms Of Uveitis In Dogs

  • Change in appearance of iris
  • Sluggish iridal movement
  • Iridal hemorrhage
  • Eye Intense reddening
  • Resistance to pharmacologic dilation and/or Miosis
  • Reduced visual sharpness
  • Cloudiness
  • Rubeosis, hyphema, hypopyon
  • Pawing at eye
  • Swelling of eyeball or eye area
  • Constant tearing/ Discharge
  • Squinting/ Excessive blinking

Treatment Options For Uveitis In Dogs

The treatment your dog will be directed on the underlying cause of the Uveitis

Corticosteroids: Prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone, triamcinolone and dexamethasone

NSAIDs like Carprofen, Meloxicam, Firocoxib, Deracoxib, Etodolac

Pain-relieving medications: Amantadine, Tramadol, Gabapentin etc

Immunosuppressive or anti-inflammatory medications: Cyclosporine, mycophenolate mofetil, leflunomide or Azathioprine

Home Remedies For Uveitis In Dogs

  • Home-cooked diet, with wholesome, nutritious foods as an substitute to commercial diets
  • Once the surgery is over, activities of your dog should be restricted for about 2 weeks to allow recuperation and incision healing
  • A restrictive e-collar can be used for 2 weeks

How To Prevent Uveitis In Dogs?

The causes for uveitis in dogs are unclear so prevention is not possible.

As most of the canine eye diseases are hereditary, there’s not much a pet owner can do to prevent them, but a therapeutic diet with eye supplements may help in one way or another.

Discuss with your a veterinary ophthalmologist to know what is the appropriate diet for your dog’s eyes and its overall health.

Affected Dog Breeds Of Uveitis

American Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Beagle, Boston Terrier, Chow Chows, Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Labrador Retriever, Samoyed, Shar Pei, Siberian Husky

Causes And Prognosis For Uveitis In Dogs

1. Causes:

Primary Ocular Causes

  • Corneal ulceration or abscessation
  • infectious keratitis
  • Necrotizing scleritis
  • Trauma- blunt insult or penetrating injury
  • immune-mediated diseases- lens-induced uveitis, pigmentary cystic glaucoma, and Pigmentary uveitis
  • hereditary pigmentary retinopathies
  • steroid-responsive retinal detachment

Nonocular Causes

Neoplastic causes - Primary intraocular tumors (iris ciliary adenocarcinoma, uveal melanoma) and Metastatic neoplasia (lymphosarcoma)

Systemic autoimmune diseases - Immune-mediated vasculitis and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia etc


  • Rickettsia rickettsii (Rocky Mountain spotted fever)
  • Brucella canis
  • Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease)
  • Ehrlichia canis
  • Leptospira species


  • Blastomyces species
  • Aspergillus species
  • Cryptococcus species
  • Coccidioides species
  • Histoplasma species



  • Toxoplasma species
  • Leishmania species
  • Dirofilaria immitis


  • Septicemia
  • Prototheca species

2. Mortality:

The mortality rate associated with this condition is not yet documented.

3. Diagnosis:

  • Complete blood count and a serum chemistry panel
  • Skull x-rays
  • Orbital ultrasound
  • Biopsy of the eye orbit

4. Prognosis:

The exact pathogenesis of uveitis is diverse and varied. The prognosis for uveitis in dogs is good once the underlying cause is addressed. If left untreated, this condition could lead to blindness or other eye complications over time. However, many cases do not have an underlying cause that can be diagnosed or treated properly, such as with immune-mediated or idiopathic uveitis.

When To See A Vet For Uveitis In Dogs?

Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

  • Change in appearance of iris
  • Sluggish iridal movement
  • Iridal hemorrhage
  • Eye Intense reddening

Food Suggestions For Uveitis In Dogs

  • High protein diet with complex carbs and good fats
  • Protein should comprise 40% of dogs’ calories. Fresh, lean protein (Lean white fish such as cod, grouper, haddock, lean cuts of beef, pork loin)
  • Fats: Salmon, herring, mackerel, lake trout, tuna and sardines
  • Vitamin C and bioflavonoids: Brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, kale, pineapple, papaya, and strawberries etc
  • CoQ10 foods-organ meats, muscle meats (beef, pork), legumes, nuts, seeds etc


Early detection and appropriate treatment offers most favorable prognosis. This highlights the importance of eye checkups as part of a routine physical examination in all dogs.

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