A Pug’s eyes are large and very expressive, that is one of the features Pug owner’s love about the breed. However, with those large and expressive eyes there comes the potential for serious eye problems. Some eye problems such as dry eye can be taken care of with eye drops such as GenTeal which can be picked up at the local drug store. Prolonged dry eye should be viewed and treated with the consent of your veterinarian. More serious conditions a veterinary ophthalmologist may be needed. Pug’s eyes such as our own are very critical and injuries to them should not be taken lightly, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Other such conditions that can affect your Pug’s eyes are:
CORNEAL ULCERS – If your Pug is squinting or their eye seems red or weepy, they may have a scratch or an ulcer on the cornea. The cornea is the clear part of the Pug’s eye. An ulcer is an abrasion or lesion on the eye surface. Ulcers are usually the most common eye problem in the breed. A corneal ulcer may appear if there is trauma to the eye, dry eyes, an infection, or something such as dirt or sand is in the eye, or even an eyelash from the Pug may be in the eye. Immediate attention from your veterinarian is needed in order to relieve the pain. An untreated ulcer can deepen quickly and the eye can rupture so seeking veterinary care right away is imperative.
DRY EYE (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca or KCS) and PIGMENTARY KERATITIS (PK) – These are two specific problems that can occur together or separate. There are some Pugs who do not produce enough tears to keep their eyes moist and that could cause dry eye. If the Pug has excessive mucous around their or in their eyes and the area may be red it could be dry eye. Also, if you notice your Pug rubbing their eyes it could possibly be dry eye. The veterinarian has a special test called a Schirmer Tear Test to determine if your Pug is affected. Dry eye could be genetic or dry eye could be cause by trauma, antibiotics, allergies, or a virus. If the Pug isn’t producing enough tears, there are medications available that will stimulate the tear glands to produce more. In the meantime, artificial tears may be needed to help keep the Pug’s eyes flushed and supply extra moisture.
Pigmentary Keratitis (PK), it is an inflammation of the cornea. An owner may notice dark black spots on the cornea of the eye, especially in the corner near the nose. Some Pugs have the pigment cover their corneas causing them to be blind. A veterinarian can dispense a medication which can assistant to keep the eyes moist and disperse the pigment. Whether it is dry eye or pigmentary keratitis, both of these problems require life-long therapy.
DYSTICHIA – is where the Pug’s eye lashes rub against the eye and can cause irritation and sometimes ulcers. Some dogs require surgery to remove the offending lashes. An owner should not attempt to remove the eye lashes but to seek veterinarian care.
ENTROPION – this is a genetic condition where the eyelid, often the lower lid, rolls into the Pug’s eyes like a window shade. This condition causes the hair on the lid to rub the eye and irritate it. This condition can be corrected with surgery.
PROPTOSIS – because most Pug’s eyes tend to protrude, it is easy for them to be forced out of the eye socket compared to other breeds. For instance, if a Pug is bitten near their eye, the eye could be pushed forward in front of the lids. The eye is still held in place by nerves and muscles, but it is often too damaged for the Pug to have their sight. Anytime the Pug’s eyes are injured whether by a bite, poked in the eye, or anything causing the eye to protrude there is no time to waste the Pug should be immediately seen by a veterinarian. This is a medical emergency and treated immediately and properly could allow some sight might to be saved.
CATARACTS – is a protein formation that forms on the Pug’s eye lens. This could be inherited or caused by trauma, inflammation, or diabetes. The cataract will appear on the surface of the Pug’s eye as a cloudy film. To the Pug the cataract may not be bothersome, but if the cataract is left untreated it can cause vision loss, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and degeneration. It is best to seek veterinarian opinion in regards to the treatment of the cataract.
EXPOSURE KERATOPATHY SYNDROME – this is when your Pug cannot completely close his eyelids while the Pug is sleeping. If this continues and if left untreated, the exposed portion of the corneas will dry out and visible stripes of pigmentation will form across the centers of your Pug’s eyes. It is best to seek the advice of your veterinarian who may prescribe a lubricant to help keep the Pug’s corneas moist.
PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY (PRA) – this is an inherited condition that causes the slow degeneration of your Pug’s retinas. Progressive Retinal Atrophy could lead to blindness by the time your Pug reaches 5 to 7 years of age. Some of the symptoms are night blindness or possibly you may notice a faint light shining from his eyes due to dilated pupils. The worse thing is there is no treatment for Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Pug’s eyes are more prone to injuries, some which could be costly if not properly taken care in a short amount of time, compared to other breeds. However, it is those large eyes that make the Pug so expressive and adorable. An ounce of prevention or an annual eye check for your Pug can help with lowering those risks of losing their eye sight or worse losing their eye. Take the time to consultant with your veterinarian in regards to the proper care for your Pug’s eyes or what to do in case of an eye injure until you are able to get them to a veterinarian. Another note is to know the contact number and location of an emergency veterinarian if your regular veterinarian does not have emergency hours.