Popular Subjects: eyes

Myxomatosis

Myomatosis is a disease that affects rabbit. It causes puffy, fluid filled swellings. They can get “sleepy eyes”, swollen lips and swellings around their rear ends. In some the swelling is so severe that it can cause blindness. Most rabbits will then stop eating and drinking and can develop breathing problems.

It is spread by blood sucking insects, such as mosquitoes and fleas, and also by direct contact between rabbits. Most infected rabbits die within 12 days.

There is no treatment for this disease but fortunately we are able to help protect rabbits by vaccinating them. A vaccine once a year can help keep them safe. Call us today to book your rabbit in for a health check and vaccination.

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Eyesight in Older Pets

As animals age, just as for people, there are normal changes that occur. By far the most common of these is a condition called nuclear sclerosis.

You may have noticed that, as your pet ages, the normally dark pupil starts to look cloudy. This may be more obvious in low light when the pupil is larger and more of the cloudy lens is visible.

imageThe lens is made up of layers of cells arranged somewhat like the layers of an onion. As animals (and us!) get older, the cells become packed together more tightly as new layers are added to the outer lens surface. The increased density of the lens causes it to look cloudy in dogs over about 7 years of age and the lens will continue to appear cloudier over time. Nuclear Sclerosis is easily mistaken for a cataract, a different problem that also causes the lens to become cloudy. While a cataract is an abnormality that can cause blindness and inflammation inside the eye, nuclear sclerosis is normal for an older dog, and the condition has minimal effect on vision.

Just as for middle-aged people who need reading glasses, a dog with nuclear sclerosis will not be able to see well up close. Going down stairs and catching a small treat may be more difficult, but they will still see that rabbit or football in the distance.

This and some other age-related changes in the eye are normal, very slowly progressive and should never cause significant problems. If you notice a major change in your dog’s vision, please give us a call.

-Mark Taylor MRCVS

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