Like most breeds of dogs, the Black Russian Terrier can be susceptible to a variety of eye diseases or conditions. Some are genetic or inherited, while others may be acquired. Some have the potential to be quite serious and others can be nothing more than a nuisance.
Following are some eye problems that may occur in your BRT, along with their descriptions, and what you can expect and should do. I am not a veterinary ophthalmologist but am passionate about eye diseases and cases, and perform a wide variety of eye procedures, from simple growth removals to delicate corneal graphs. After seeing and treating a significant number of canine eye problems over two decades, I hope this article is informative and useful in helping you consider what might be affecting your BRT should any of these conditions arise, and to know when to seek veterinary or specialist care as needed.
Conditions discussed in this article:
1. Distichiasis and Trichiasis
3. Progressive Retinal Atrophy
4. Eyelid Growths and Cherry Eye
5. Corneal Ulcers
7. Red Eye
Distichiasis and Trichiasis
Distichiasis and trichiasis are not generally considered serious.
• Distichiasis is a condition in which eyelashes grow from the tarsal glands (sebaceous follicles between the cartilage and conjunctiva of the eyelids) in an improper
direction, often growing backward towards the cornea. This is considered a commonly inherited disease among many breeds. If present, it will be found and noted by
board certified veterinary ophthalmologists during Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) exams.
• Trichiasis occurs when eyelashes grow from the tarsal glands in the proper orientation, but become directed or curl backwards towards the eye.
The net effect of these conditions is irritation to the cornea, which may present itself as a red, irritated eye with discharge, blepharospasm (squinting), and discoloration of the cornea from chronic irritation or even ulceration of the cornea.
Treatment is directed at removing offending eyelashes. This may be as simple as plucking the lashes (they will frequently regrow); removal of eyelashes via electrolysis to try and prevent regrowth; cryotherapy (freezing the eyelid margin) to remove abnormal lashes and prevent regrowth; or even surgery to remove a portion of the eyelid containing abnormal eyelashes (not usually necessary).