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Anterior Uveitis in Dogs

By: Dr. Jennifer Welser

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Anterior uveitis is inflammation that affects the front or anterior part of the eye called the uvea, which is the dark tissue of the eye that contains blood vessels. The iris – the tissue that makes up the pupil – is typically involved. The posterior part of the eye may or may not be affected.

The causes of anterior uveitis include:

  • Immune-mediated conditions, in which the body attacks its own tissues
  • Infections from viruses, parasites, fungi, bacteria, rickettsia
  • Tumors or cancers
  • Trauma or injury to the eye
  • Metabolic disease elsewhere in the body that is affecting the eye
  • Idiopathic, which means the cause is unknown
  • Lens-induced, which is caused by the escape of lens protein into the eye fluid and is most frequently associated with cataracts

    Older animals are more likely to have tumors, and indoor/outdoor pets are more likely to be exposed to infectious causes than pets housed strictly indoors. Also, in certain regions of the world specific infectious diseases are more common. Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to have immune-mediated anterior uveitis.

    Anterior uveitis can be painful for your pet and may threaten vision. Just as important, this problem can also be a sign of a disease that is affecting the rest of the your pet's body.

    What to Watch For

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Squinting, especially in bright light
  • A small or unevenly shaped pupil
  • A cloudy or dull appearance in the front of the eye
  • An unevenly colored iris – a normal brown iris may be very red, darker brown than normal or have fluffy yellow/white areas

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