Shih Tzu Eye Problems

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When it comes to adorable companionship, few breeds can rival the charm and endearing nature of the Shih Tzu. Renowned for their luscious coats and gentle temperament, these pint-sized pups have captured the hearts of dog lovers around the world. However, behind those captivating round eyes lies a vulnerability that demands attention – Shih Tzus are known to be predisposed to a variety of eye problems.

Over the years, Shih Tzus have become a beloved fixture in many households. Yet, their distinct physical characteristics and genetics put them at a higher risk for developing various ocular ailments. From mild irritations to more severe conditions that can impair vision, it is crucial for owners and prospective pet parents to be aware of the potential eye issues that can affect these adorable canines.

In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of Shih Tzu eye health, exploring the common eye problems that afflict this breed, their causes, symptoms, and available treatment options. By understanding the unique challenges faced by Shih Tzus, we can equip ourselves with the knowledge to provide optimal care and help safeguard their precious vision.


What are the most common eye problems in Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzus are prone to several eye problems, including:

– Cherry eye: This condition occurs when the gland that produces tears protrudes from the eye and becomes inflamed. It can cause discomfort and discharge from the eye.
– Corneal ulcers: These are open sores on the surface of the cornea, the clear part of the eye. They can be caused by an injury or infection, and they can cause pain, discharge, and a cloudy appearance in the eye.
– Cataracts: These are cloudy areas that develop inside the eye and can cause vision problems. They can be caused by genetics, injury, or age.
– Entropion: This is a condition in which the eyelid rolls inward, causing the lashes to rub against the surface of the eye. It can cause irritation, discharge, and even corneal ulcers.
– Dry eye: This occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tears, which can cause discomfort, redness, and discharge.
– Glaucoma: This is a condition in which the pressure inside the eye increases, causing damage to the optic nerve. It can cause pain, vision loss, and even blindness.


What causes these eye problems in Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzus, like other dog breeds, can be prone to various eye problems. Some common eye issues observed in Shih Tzus include:

  1. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a genetic disorder that causes degeneration of the retina over time, leading to vision loss and, in severe cases, blindness.
  2. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye): Dry eye occurs when the tear glands fail to produce enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated. It can result in corneal inflammation, discomfort, and potential damage if left untreated.
  3. Corneal Ulcers: Shih Tzus may develop corneal ulcers, which are open sores on the cornea caused by injury, scratches, or foreign objects. These ulcers can be painful and may require veterinary treatment.
  4. Entropion: Entropion is a condition where the eyelids roll inward, causing the hair and eyelashes to rub against the surface of the eye. This constant irritation can lead to corneal ulcers, infections, and discomfort.
  5. Cataracts: Shih Tzus can develop cataracts, which are opacities that form in the lens of the eye. Cataracts can lead to impaired vision and, if severe, may require surgical intervention to restore vision.
  6. Distichiasis: This condition occurs when extra eyelashes grow along the eyelid margin, irritating the cornea and potentially causing discomfort, redness, and excessive tearing.
  7. Glaucoma: Shih Tzus can be prone to glaucoma, a condition characterized by increased pressure within the eye. It can cause pain, redness, vision loss, and, if left untreated, irreversible damage to the optic nerve.


How can these eye problems be prevented?

The best way to prevent eye problems in Shih Tzus is to maintain good eye hygiene. This includes:

– Regular grooming: Keep the hair around the eyes trimmed to prevent irritation and infection.
– Regular cleaning: Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe away any discharge or debris from the eyes daily.
– Prompt treatment of any eye problems: If you notice any signs of an eye problem, such as redness, discharge, or cloudiness, take your dog to the vet right away.


How are these eye problems diagnosed?

Diagnosing eye problems in Shih Tzus requires a thorough eye examination by a veterinarian. The vet will examine the eye for signs of inflammation, infection, or injury, and may perform tests like a Schirmer tear test to assess tear production. In some cases, the vet may need to refer the dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist for further diagnosis and treatment.


How are these eye problems treated?

Treatment for eye problems in Shih Tzus depends on the specific condition and its severity. Some treatments may include:

– Medications: Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat infections, while anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to reduce swelling and pain.
– Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct conditions like cherry eye or entropion.
– Eye drops or ointments: These can be used to lubricate the eye or reduce pressure in the case of glaucoma.


What is the prognosis for Shih Tzus with eye problems?

The prognosis for Shih Tzus with eye problems depends on the severity of the condition and how quickly it is diagnosed and treated. Many eye problems, such as corneal ulcers and dry eye, can be treated successfully with medication and good eye hygiene. Other conditions, like cataracts and glaucoma, may require surgery and ongoing management to prevent further damage to the eye.



In conclusion, Shih Tzus are prone to several eye problems, but with good eye hygiene and prompt treatment of any problems, they can live happy, healthy lives. If you notice any signs of an eye problem in your Shih Tzu, be sure to take them to the vet right away to ensure the best possible outcome.

Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Owner of the cutest shih tzu on earth

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