Here are some of the inquiries we receive most often. If you have other questions, please let us know and maybe we'll post them here.
Can dogs and cats see in color?
Yes, they can see in color, but not to the degree that humans can. In some cases they rely more on contrast differences than color differences to distinguish objects.
Are dog and cat eyes different from human eyes?
Here is a list of some of the differences between human and animal eyes:
1. Most animal eyes have a tapetum, human eyes do not. The tapetum is a reflective structure that lies beneath the retina. It acts like a mirror; reflecting light back through the retina so the retina gets more opportunities to capture light. Animals that are active at night have a tapetum. Dogs, Cats, Horses, and Cows all have tapetums. It causes the yellow or green glow you see when light hits an animal's eyes.
2.Human eyes have a fovea, or a cone rich area in the retina. Dogs and cats do not have this.
There are two types of cells in the retina that receive light: rods and cones. Rods are for sensing motion and work best in low light conditions. All mammals, including people, have more rods than cones. Cone cells are adapted for vision in brighter light and can detect different colors.
3. Most animals have a third eyelid (or nictitating membrane). Human eyes do not have a full nictitating membrane only a tiny remnant at the inside corner of the eye which looks like a small pink lump.
The Nictitating Membrane is a thin piece of tissue, supported by cartilage, which moves across the eyeball like a windshield wiper, to give the cornea additional protection. It is often called a third eyelid or haw. In cats and dogs, the nictitating membrane is not usually visible, and its appearance is a sign of poor health or a painful eye.
4. Dog and cat corneas are larger in diameter than human corneas.
How do I apply an eye drop?
To apply an eye drop, tilt your pet's head back by lifting the muzzle, so that the nose is pointing straight up into the air. Then pull back the upper eyelid so that you can see the white of the eye above the cornea. Let one drop fall onto the cornea keeping the tip of the bottle about 1 inch from the eye. If the tip hits the lashes or the skin around the eye, you could inadvertently suck bacteria up into the bottle, causing contamination. If the tip hits the cornea, it could cause a corneal ulcer or scratch. Avoid giving medications if you have long fingernails as they could cause damage to an animal's eyes.
How do I apply an eye ointment?
Moisten the tube in your hand, lift the dog or cat's muzzle so that it is pointing up in the air, pull the upper eyelid back and apply a 1/8-1/2" strip to the white area above the eye. You do not need to "rub the ointment in". Just let it melt. Do not touch the tip of the tube to the cornea. Do not put the ointment on a finger and rub it onto the eye. Do not let your pet rub its eye following application of the medication. Avoid giving medications if you have long fingernails as they could cause damage to an animal's eyes.
It would be best to have your veterinarian and his or her staff, show you how to do this.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is an opacity or cloudiness of the lens of the eye. The lens is a structure inside the eye, which acts, like the lens of a camera, to help us focus on near objects. A cataract can be a tiny dot, which does not cause much vision problem, or could involve the whole lens (making it look white) that will cause nearly complete blindness.
My 12-year old Labrador retriever has cloudy eyes but he seems to be able to see just fine. Does he have cataracts?
He may have early cataracts, but the cloudiness that you see is most likely due to NUCLEAR SCLEROSIS, which is a normal aging change. The lenses get denser and will appear cloudier to us. Usually, however, animals can see just fine through these lenses.
Is cataract surgery painful?
There is some moderate discomfort for a day or two after surgery, but your pet will be sent home on medications to help this. Pain medications are given by injection right at the completion of surgery and oral pills or drops are used after surgery. These medications might cause some drowsiness. Make sure you follow instructions carefully and keep all medications out of reach of children and animals.
How soon will my dog see after cataract surgery?
In some cases, he or she will see right away, in others it may take up to a week or two.
How do I know if an eye condition is an emergency?
Any time you notice that your pet has ocular discomfort (pain, itching, squinting, flinching), a sudden onset of ocular discharge or redness, swelling, cloudiness of the cornea or a sudden onset of visual disturbance we suggest calling your veterinarian immediately.