Do ophthalmologists for animals exist?
Many families decide to get a pet dog, cat, horse or even an exotic animal. Pets play a significant role in the family. Such that owners get similar eye treatments for their pets, as they would for any family member.
Now let me make it quite straight at this stage that Clinica London is for humans, we do not see pets here.
Yet, the majority of animals, including humans, have similar basic eye structures. Though there are significant differences in the origin of their illnesses: physiological responses, sensitivities to medicines, etc.
Thus, advances in human ophthalmology are taken into account, they cannot be extrapolated from one to the other. Nowadays, veterinary ophthalmologists can diagnose and treat: eyelid conjunctiva, corneal, crystalline lens, glaucoma and retinal diseases. Even illnesses that only affect the eye, or appear as a result of general disease, such as diabetes, septicaemia, immune-related tumours, can also be seen by veterinary ophthalmologists. They will use similar tools to examine the eye, as we use on humans.
However, most of their instruments are portable, to make it easier to observe different sized animals. So there is a big difference between a cat and a horse, a dog and a guinea pig, etc.
In animals, the most frequent type of eyelid surgery does depend on the species. For example, entropion surgery (eyelids turning inwards), corneal transplants for corneal opacity, amniotic membrane implants, common surgical techniques for glaucoma and, of course, cataract surgery and placement of an intraocular lens. Sadly, sometimes, the evisceration of the eye if the condition has got an awful endophthalmitis and the vision cannot be saved.
As is the case with humans, many illnesses in animals’ eyes require rapid diagnosis and treatment to preserve vision. In most cases, the pet owner must be observant. detect changes in the animal’s eyes, especially if these are only very mild changes, or only affects one eye.
All general vets get some ophthalmology training. Similarly to the way that general practitioners gets some ophthalmology training. However, they often have to refer the patient to a veterinary specialist ophthalmologist. Specialising in this area of veterinary ophthalmology is increasingly using sophisticated diagnostic techniques and treatments.
This specialisation identifies diseases in animals, in the same way that we can in humans. Animals particularly get hereditary retinal diseases. Advances applied to people are gradually being available to them as well.
For more information on veterinary ophthalmologists, please contact the Royal Veterinary College, which is part of the University of London. They established the Veterinary Ophthalmology Service in 2012. For your dogs, cats, hampsters, rabbits and even terrapins, Emergency referrals to RVC dial 01707 666 365.