Saturday, January 12, 2008

Eye exams

The Coastal South Carolina Labrador Retriever Club hosted an eye clinic on Saturday. The new veterinary ophthalmologist diplomate from Mt. Pleasant did the eye exams. We took seven of the Surry Labradors to the clinic. All were clear with no problems.

For those of you who haven't taken your Labrador for an eye exam, the basic procedure is simple. The first thing to be done is to fill out the form that has registration and ownership information on your dog. It also includes date of birth, date of exam, and breed information. Then the eyes of each dog are dilated. After about 10 minutes, the dog can then be examined. The eye specialist will do the following things:

1. Examine accessory structures of the eye using a slit-lamp biomicroscope.
2. Examine the cornea; followed by the anterior chamber and anterior uvea using an ophthalmoscope. The iris is checked during this part of the exam.
3. Measuring the pressure within the eye and evaluating the drainage angle (to out-rule or confirm glaucoma).
4. A fundus exam of the lens, vitreous and retina.

The retina of the eye in Labradors can be affected by retinal dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy, the latter of which can now be diagnosed by a genetic marker test as well as the annual exam. The lens of the eye can be affected by cataracts.
There are also disorders of the eyelids that may occur such as entropion and ectropion.

It's important to have an annual exam of your dog's eyes. Because diseases of the eye may be inherited, knowledge about whether your Labrador has "normal" eyes is important in making breeding decisions. It is inadvisable to breed any Labrador who does not pass an eye exam.

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