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Key takeaways

The uvea is an anatomical term for the iris, the ciliary body behind it, and choroid structure behind the retina. Uveitis occurs when one or more of these structures becomes inflamed.

  • Anterior uveitis affects the iris and ciliary body; posterior uveitis occurs in the retina and the choroid
  • Symptoms of uveitis include a tendency to keep the eye shut, avoiding bright lights, reddening or cloudiness in the eye, swelling of the iris, and color change of the iris
  • Ophthalmic examination is usually sufficient for diagnosis
  • More specific tests may be indicated to investigate underlying cause
  • In some cases, bloodwork and diagnostic imaging are helpful for ruling out systemic causes
  • Anti-inflammatories are usually prescribed to alleviate symptoms and prevent secondary disorders
  • Most dogs recover fully in a matter of weeks or months
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A closer look: Uveitis in Dogs

The potential causes of uveitis are vast and the diagnosis of uveitis is purely descriptive, providing no information about the underlying cause of the inflammation. Most cases are caused by something within the eye itself as opposed to something external, like an injury.

In severe or chronic cases, Uveitis may lead to blindness, cataracts, and lens luxation. Glaucoma is another potential complication of uveitis.

Home care and regular vet check ups are particularly important with uveitis as recurrence is common and the condition can easily lead to secondary glaucoma.

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Risk factors

Uveitis is a common condition in all breeds of dogs, even though sometimes it has a breed- or age- related cause. There are many potential causes of uveitis, some of which are minor and easily treated, but others may be life-threatening.

Possible causes

There are numerous conditions associated with inflammation of the eye.

Main symptoms

In addition, signs of pain such as hiding and appetite loss are also common.

Testing and diagnosis

Uveitis is usually identified with an ophthalmic examination. Sometimes the underlying cause is less obvious. A thorough physical examination, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging are used to detect the potential underlying cause. If an infectious disease is suggested, serology test or tissue samples may also be indicated.

Steps to Recovery

Treatment involves the use of anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain and prevent possible recurrence. Other therapies vary according to the underlying cause.

Topical therapy is sometimes sufficient with prescription eye drops or ointments.

Systemic therapy is often necessary. Surgical removal of the eye is uncommon and is usually required only in severe cases.

Therapy might last weeks or months and in some cases is lifelong. Frequent follow-up examinations are recommended.

Prognosis depends on the underlying cause. If the condition is specific to the eye, the chances of complete recovery are high. If the cause is systemic, like infection or auto-immune disease, treatment might take longer. Serious causes like cancer carry a poor prognosis.


Prevention is difficult because uveitis has so many different causes.

Some of the diseases that cause uveitis are contagious, others are related to environmental and genetic factors.

Is Uveitis in Dogs common?

Uveitis is common and affects dogs of any breed, sex, and age. Golden retrievers are more predisposed to suffer from pigmentary uveitis.

Typical Treatment

  • Analgesics
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Treatment for specific condition


Rhea Morgan, DVM, DACVIM, DACVO - Writing for Veterinary Partner
Rachel A. Allbaugh, DVM, MS, DACVO - Writing for Today's Veterinary Practice
Wendy M. Townsend, DVM, MS - Writing for The Veterinary Clinics of North America. Small Animal Practice

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