Uveitis is defined as inflammation of some or all of the internal anatomy of the canine or feline eye. Clinic signs of uveitis in dogs and cats include spasming down of he eyelids, thickening of the inner eyelids, redness of the white of the eye, a thickened white film on the cornea (clear outer portion of the eye), constricted pupil, and blood in the intraocular fluid (fluid that bathes the inside of the eye). Many patients do not show all of the these signs, and uveitis can be present in just one or both eyes.
Uveitis in dogs and cats is a secondary problem, precipitated by a primary cause of intraocular vascular damage. Primary causes of uveitis include: infection, trauma, auto-immune disease, parasites, and cancer.
Diagnosis of uveitis is achieved by observation of typical clinical signs, combined with low intraocular pressures, when pressures are tested on physical examination. Once uveitis is confirmed, it is imperitive that the underlying cause be found, as treatment of the precipitating cause is an essential part of treating uveitis.
Diagnostics in dogs with uveitis should include blood chemistry, complete blood count, and heart worm test to begin with. In cats with uveitis, blood chemistry and complete blood count should be run, but should also include blood tests for immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia, and toxoplasmosis.
Uveitis is a medical emergency that causes a great deal of pain, and can quickly lead to irreversible blindness. As such, if uveitis is suspected in one’s pet, one should seek veterinary care ASAP. In treating uveitis, once an underlying cause is identified, specific treatment will be directed at the underlying disease process. Ocular treatment is often relatively non-specific with the objective of preventing the often irreversible and visually and visually devastating sequel of intraocular inflammation, beginning with topical anti-inflammatory agents. In cases established as non-infectious, corticosteroids are often used. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents are somtimes used systemically, including Deramax, Previcox, Rimadyl, or Metacam. Topical atropine is used to dilate the constricted pupil and alleviate pain.