Horner’s Syndrome in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments


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Horner’s Syndrome in Dogs, sometimes referred to as a droopy eye, is the name given to a neurological disorder this usually affects a dog’s eyes and facial muscles. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including droopy eyes and eyes that look like they’ve shrunk in size.

The condition can often result from brain or spinal injuries. In many cases, however, the exact cause remains unknown; although it seems to affect male Golden Retrievers and Collies much more than other breeds.

If you see signs of a neurological disorder in your dog, then you have to go to the vet for proper diagnosis and advice. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for Horner’s Syndrome in dogs.

Symptoms of Horner’s Syndrome in Dogs

Symptoms of Horner’s syndrome in dogs can usually be identified by looking at a dog’s eyes and facial muscles.

Some of the most common symptoms contain:

  • Drooping upper eyelids
  • Creation of a third eyelid
  • The pupils look smaller than usual
  • ear infection
  • Eyes that look like they’ve shrunk

Causes of Horner’s Syndrome in Dogs

Veterinarians check the health of the golden retriever.  A vet wearing a stethoscope around his neck carries a Golden Retriever dog.  eye exam.

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The cause of Horner’s syndrome in dogs is sometimes related to a recent brain or spinal injury. Infections can also cause this syndrome. However, many cases are considered idiopathic, meaning the exact cause remains unknown.

While all dog breeds can develop the disease, male golden retrievers and collies appear to be at the highest risk of developing it.

Veterinary Treatments

If you are concerned that your dog is developing Horner’s syndrome, your veterinarian will physically examine your dog and take blood and urine samples.

Your vet will ask detailed questions about your dog’s recent history to find out if he has suffered any trauma or injuries that could possibly have caused the condition.

In most cases, veterinarians use radiological techniques like MRIs and X-rays to make a diagnosis.

Treatment generally focuses on treating the underlying cause of the condition. If an infection is present, a veterinarian will prescribe treatment with medication or antibiotics.

As always, if your veterinarian prescribes medication for your dog, it is important that you follow the exact dosing and administration instructions and follow the entire medication regimen.

In many cases, veterinarians recommend eye medications and lubricants to relieve immediate eye pain or problems your dog is experiencing.

Has Your Dog Developed Horner’s Syndrome? What treatment did your vet recommend? Let us know in the comment section below.


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