Eye problems in the Miniature Pinscher and similar dog breeds

Eye problems in the Miniature Pinscher and similar dog breeds

Health & Safety

The Miniature Pinscher or “Mini Pin” is a small dog breed that hails from Germany, and has mixed origins including input from breeds such as the Italian Greyhound, Dachshund and German Pinscher. Despite their similarities in appearance to the Doberman Pinscher, and of course, the similar sounding name, the Miniature Pinscher is not a close relative of the larger Doberman, and should not be thought of as a Doberman-type dog only smaller!

They are classed as a small breed of dog, and are popular as pets among people who wish to own a lively, active small dog rather than a sedentary lapdog.

As with any other pure breed dog, the Miniature Pinscher is rather more likely to suffer from certain genetically inherited health problems than mixed breed dogs or mutts of a similar size, and particularly the Miniature Pinscher is prone to developing various different problems with their eyes at different stages of their life.

In this article, we will look at some of the most common eye problems that have a genetically inherited element and can affect Miniature Pinschers, as well as other dogs with Miniature Pinscher breeding. Read on to learn more.


Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems that can affect both dogs and people, and which can significantly impair vision. Cataracts are caused by a build-up of proteins on the lens of the eye, which ultimately lead to the eye clouding over and making it hard for the dog to see properly. This can lead to either partial or total blindness, but cataracts can be surgically removed to restore vision. However, dogs that have developed cataracts once are prone to them recurring, and cataracts may be present in either one eye only, or in both.

Corneal dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy is a condition that shares many similarities with cataracts, but occurs when lipids or calcium rather than proteins build up in the outer and middle layers of the cornea of the eye. This leads to milky-looking spots in the eyes, which again, can impair vision.

Again, the spots caused by corneal dystrophy can be surgically removed to restore vision, but like cataracts, run the risk of returning repeatedly even after treatment.


Entropion is a rather nasty condition of the eyelid, which causes the eyelid to flip inwards or invert on itself, so that it lies against the lens of the eye itself. This can cause irritation and soreness, particularly if it causes the eyelashes to rub against the cornea. Painful ulceration can be caused if the condition is left to progress unchecked, but surgical correction to reposition the eyelid and keep it from inverting again can resolve the issue.


Glaucoma is a condition that occurs when pressure inside of the eye itself builds up, leading to the gelatinous substance that makes up the body of the eye to become thicker, sometimes causing a bulging-eyed appearance. This comes accompanied by poor vision and dilated pupils, as well as potential pain and irritation of the eyes.

Glaucoma is referred to as either primary or secondary; primary glaucoma is present from birth, but secondary glaucoma can come on at any age, due to an injury or illness. Glaucoma can be cured in the dog by means of either surgical treatment or the use of medication.

Dry eye

Dry eye, or kerato-conjunctivitis sicca, is a condition that occurs when the eye’s tear ducts do not produce enough natural moisture to comfortably lubricate the eyes. This can lead to dry, itchy and uncomfortable eyes, which may also have a white or greenish discharge and appear overly glossy.

In order to correct the problem, your vet will prescribe medications such as lubricating eye drops to use regularly on your dog, to make up for their natural lack of tear production.

Progressive retinal atrophy

Progressive retina atrophy or PRA is, as the name suggests, a progressive degeneration of the retina of the eye. This leads to a very slow but non-reversible degeneration of the eyes and vision, although this is not usually accompanied by pain.

Ultimately, the condition will lead to blindness, and often presents itself in the initial stages as night blindness or problems seeing properly in dim light. The eyes may also take on a dilated appearance even in brighter light, as the lenses expand more widely than normal in an attempt to receive more light to allow normal vision.

Unfortunately, progressive retinal atrophy cannot be cured or reversed.

Pannus of the cornea

Pannus, or chronic superficial keratitis of the cornea is a condition where both eyes become inflamed, discoloured or painful. Frequent blinking is a normal part of the condition, as the dog attempts to relieve the associated irritation that is always present. Ultimately, the condition may again lead to a total loss of vision, but the pain that may accompany the condition can be treated by means of medical therapies.

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