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Look Out: The Skinny on Poodle Eye Problems

Poodles are one of the country's most popular breeds. Their combination of size, coat, and personality has practically made them a status symbol - not to mention they're adorable. They are also notorious for developing various eye problems. These issues all demand your attention, albeit in very different ways.

Why Are Poodles so Susceptible to Eye Problems?

One of the bigger reasons why poodles tend to fall victim to eye ailments is due to the breed’s heredity. Much like other purebred pooches, breed-prone issues have been passed down the collective bloodline from generation to generation, so these problems may be hard-wired into their DNA. While some breeders have used canine lineage to try and lessen these issues, it remains a widespread problem.

The physical makeup of the poodle also plays a vital role in the formation of certain eye ailments. The long, curly fur that poodles may have around their eyes have a tendency to pick up debris during everyday activities, and these foreign objects or substances could create an irritation that leads to eye issues. Also, poodles tend to experience blocked tear ducts more readily than other breeds, which could lead to various eye ailments, as well.

Tear Staining - the Most Recognizable Eye Ailment

Poodle Eye Problems 2

Arguably, the most common eye issue associated with poodles is tear staining. This condition is famously characterized by colored streaks that appear below a pooch’s eyes, its hue ranging from red to rusty brown. This discoloration is much more prominent if your poodle has white or fair-colored fur.

The main culprit behind this common poodle ailment is a condition known as epiphora or excessive tear flow. This is most closely associated with tear duct blockage or the introduction of debris, as your pooch may produce an excess amount of tears to rectify the situation. While a dog's tears do run clear, they contain a pigment known as porphyrin; this pigment when introduced to a dog’s fur in excess could cause streaking.

Taking Care of Tear Staining by Taking Care of your Dog’s Eyes

Treating tear streaking can be nipped in the bud by making sure eye care is part of your dog's normal grooming regiment. Because eyes are a sensitive part of the body, taking care of your pooch's peepers is a delicate task. It's also one that could yield positive dividends that you can see - or rather, that you can't see.

Serious Medical Conditions behind Poodle Eye Problems

While cosmetic-related issues are the most recognizable eye problem you'll see in poodles, it's a relatively mild condition compared to the scary eye issues that could develop. Some of these issues tend to affect different sizes of poodles than other. Other conditions, such as cataracts or glaucoma, cause the same type of issues that are caused when they develop in our eyes.

The most notorious of these eye conditions is progressive retinal atrophy; a condition in which the poodle’s retinas atrophy and cause blindness. It’s a disease that has no cure and can start manifesting itself when the dog is as young as two and a half years old. It’s also been determined to be a recessive gene, meaning that it could lie completely dormant in a dog’s lineage for several generations before appearing.

A somewhat related condition to progressive retinal atrophy is a condition called iris atrophy; an incurable disease that causes the iris in a dog's eye to atrophy and dies. Miniature and toy breeds may suffer from a condition known as hemeralopia, which is marked by sudden bouts of daytime blindness. Conversely, standard poodles may be subject to a condition known as microphthalmos, where his eyes develop smaller than what is expected of their size.

Seek Vet Attention as Soon as You Suspect Something Bad

While you may be able to take care of your dog’s tear staining issues, it is important that you take your pooch to the vet the moment you suspect something serious may be happening with his peepers. While some of the more serious diseases are notorious because they lack a cure, getting your dog properly diagnosed sooner than later can help better prepare you and your pooch to live and cope with the condition when it takes full effect. It may be a heart-wrenching trip to take, but if you love your dog, it is one that is essential.

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Kathy Grens - April 19, 2018

My miniature poodles eyes have stoped tearing. I’m worried. What could be wrong?

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