Eye ulcers

An eye ulcer, or corneal ulcer, is a wound on the front of the eye which can develop for many different reasons. They can vary from a very shallow or minor scratch to a much deeper ulcer which can cause the eye to burst.


A corneal ulcer is a very painful condition and, as its often not visible without special tests and equipment, being able to recognise the symptoms is important in making sure the condition does not get worse.

These symptoms include:

  • Increased discharge
  • Frequent blinking
  • Red and inflamed eye
  • Closed eye or squinting
  • Rubbing their face
  • Cloudiness of the eye
  • Avoiding bright lights


There are several possible causes of corneal ulcers in dogs and these include:


Wounds as a result of trauma are often the cause, usually from playing with another dog or cat, running into sticks and other vegetation, or by simply rubbing their faces on the carpet.

As some breeds have more prominent eyes, they might find themselves more likely to cause some damage to their cornea by running, playing and grooming.

Dry eye

If a dog suffers from dry eye, a condition which stops the production of tears leading to the drying of the corneal surface, they may suffer from eye ulcers.

Foreign body

Dogs can often get things stuck in their eye, like a grass seed or bits of grit, and these can cause irritation and even ulcers.

Infections, eyelash and eyelid problems can also cause eye ulcers.

Prevention and treatment

Eye ulcers aren’t always preventable, but always try and keep your dog away from branches, twigs, and other vegetation, especially if they have prominent eyes. Checking their eyes for any debris and signs of other eye conditions can help prevent an ulcer from developing.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the ulcer but may include eye drops, anti-inflammatory medicine, antibiotics or surgery. It’s likely a dog will also be given a buster collar to prevent it from clawing at its eyes and causing more damage as the ulcer heals.

If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour, or you think they have a problem with their eye, contact your vet or speak to a Joii vet, free for Animal Friends cat and dog policyholders, and they will be able to check for eye ulcers or other issues.

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