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Dr. K
Dr. K, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7544
Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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Why Does The Dog's Eye Have Blood?

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My elderly dog with poor eye sight has what looks like blood in his eye. It looks like it is filled with blood.

What causes this? 

Where is this blood exactly?

Is it on the inside of his eyeball (like if you look into his eyes, you see blood accumulating inside of the cornea in front of the pupil)?

Is it just that the white part of his eyeball (the sclera) that looks very bloody?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Yes, it's on the inside of his eyeball.

Blood in the anterior chamber of the eye is called "hyphema." This can be a sign of many different ocular and systemic diseases.

The many causes include:

Trauma (with this there is usually evidence also on the eyelids, conjunctiva or cornea as well)
Chronic retinal detachment
Uveal neoplasia (cancer)
Uveitis (often secondary to rickettsial disease in dogs)
Coagulopathies (disorders of blood-clotting)
Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels secondary to immune-mediated diseases or rickettsial diseases (tick borne diseases)).
Systemic hypertension (high blood pressure)--usually either primary or secondary to kidney disease
Parasite migration into the eyeball
Secondary to congenital ocular defects (your dog is really too old for this)

If this is occurring in both eyes, then it is more likely to be a systemic disease. If it is in only one eye, then it is more likely to be a retinal detachment problem or intra-ocular cancer.

I would like to ask you a few more questions:

Is it just one eye or both?
If you lift his lip and look at his gums above his teeth, are they the same color as yours or do they look different?

Do you see any dark red bruised looking areas on his gums?
Do the white parts of his eyeballs look normal or do they look pinkish or blood-shot to you?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Its only in 1 eye. He has dark gums, black, there is pink and it looks normal pink as far as I can see. The whites are very blood shot..

If it is only in one eye and the white part of that eye looks very bloodshot, then the most likely reason for the hyphema is retinal detachment or neoplasia (cancer). Since the white part of the eye is reddened, this could indicate glaucoma, so you should take your dog into the doctor immediately. Glaucoma can be diagnosed quickly with a simple test and if it is present, your dog will need to be on some medications immediately to help decrease the pressure in the eye and the subsequent pain associated with that. This will also help to save the vision in the eye.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

What will happen if we wait until morning? I know this seems like a hard question but we are a long way from the vet and its 9 pm and they are closed.

If this is glaucoma and you wait until the morning, then your dog will have a greater chance of going completely blind in the eye. With glaucoma, the sooner the pressure is relieved, the less likely that the dog will have permanent blindness in their eye.

There is also the issue that if it is glaucoma, this is incredibly painful.

I hope that this helps you with your decision.

Dr. K and 2 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for your help.

He is going to the vet now.