Blood in the Front of the Eye in Dogs

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Hyphema in Dogs

Hyphema, or blood in the anterior chamber of the eye, is a common condition among dogs. However, hyphema is a clinical sign and not a specific disease.

Symptoms and Types

The symptoms of hyphema are dependent on the extent of bleeding, whether vision has been impaired, and whether your dog has other, underlying systemic diseases.

Common signs that are observed during a physical examination are:

  • Blood within the anterior chamber of the eye
  • Corneal edema or corneal lesions
  • Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP)


The most common causes of hyphema are:

  • Injury or trauma to the eye or head
  • Severe retinal detachment
  • Hypertension, hyperthyroidism, systemic deficiencies
  • Infection by parasites
  • Bleeding vessels - vasculitis, uveitis, uveal neoplasia, and lymphoma particularly
  • Ocular defects - retinal dysplasia, collie eye anomaly, glaucoma, etc.

Hyphema can also be indicative of various ocular (eye) and systemic deficiencies, some of which may be life threatening. Therefore, its diagnosis and proper treatment is very important.


Hyphema is diagnosed through hematology and blood biochemistry tests, lab tests, and diagnostic imaging using X-rays and ultrasound tests.

A complete medical history will be taken and a thorough physical examination done to include or exclude possible causes for the condition.

Common diagnostic tests and procedures include:

  • Complete blood count with platelet count
  • Serum biochemistry to measure serum levels in protein
  • Coagulopathy tests to assess blood coagulation functions
  • Blood pressure
  • Urinalysis to exclude kidney diseases
  • Chest and abdominal X-rays
  • Ocular ultrasounds (ultrasonography) to investigate the anterior portion of the eye and include/exclude possibilities of retinal detachment, lens displacement, abnormal masses, and vitreal hemorrhage.

Other advanced tests that may be performed include abdominal ultrasounds, X-rays of the head and eye orbit to detect hitherto unknown traumatic injuries, and hormonal tests (assays) of the adrenal glands. To detect bone marrow cancer, a bone marrow aspirate - the liquid found within the bone marrow - may also be done.

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