5 Common Rottweiler Eye Problems – Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM

rottweiler eye problems

‘The eyes are the windows to the soul’ is true in many senses, but when it comes to your Rottweiler, the eyes can also cause serious health concerns.

A Rottweiler is one active and hardworking dog vulnerable to a few eye conditions, but do you know what they are?

Common Rottweiler eye problems include cataracts, conjunctivitis, entropion, and progressive retinal atrophy. However, growths, tumors, and cysts can also occur in this breed. If left unchecked, these eye problems can cause pain or even loss of vision.

As a licensed veterinary doctor, I’ll go in-depth to define some of these common Rottweiler eye problems, their causes and symptoms, treatment, and preventive measures you can take to protect your dog.


entropion rottweiler

Entropion is an eye condition that affects the eyelids where the upper or the lower eyelid rolls inwards, causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye’s surface.

The eye rubbing may lead to inflammation or irritation in the eyes, which can be very painful and uncomfortable for a Rottweiler.

There’s also a unique form of Entropion called Spastic Entropion, which causes a Rottweiler to tightly squeeze its eyes when irritation occurs, forcing the eyelids inside the eye.

Causes and Symptoms

Entropion in Rottweilers is primarily genetic but can also stem from other factors, like trauma, old age, or muscle weakness.

Common Entropion symptoms to look for include:

  • Watery eyes (excessive tear production)
  • Frequent squinting or blinking
  • Malformations in the eyelids (rolled inwards)
  • Red and inflamed eyes
  • Eyes become sensitive to light
  • Rubbing of the eyes due to irritation

Diagnosis and Treatment

Once diagnosed in a Rottweiler, entropion needs immediate treatment as the condition can affect the dogs’ vision and leave it with permanent scars.

The good news is that Entropion is relatively easy to detect since the eyelids visibly curl in.

Treating Entropion may not be effective with standard eye drops or other over-the-counter medications.

In most cases, treatment includes surgery.

However, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and other medications may help to cure secondary damage. 


cataracts rottweiler

A cataract is yet another common eye problem in Rottweilers affecting the eye’s surface.

The condition starts with an opaque, cloudy membrane on the dog’s eye and may spread to the other eye if left untreated.

In Rottweilers, cataracts can appear as young as six months since it’s a primarily hereditary condition.

Causes and Symptoms

While most often hereditary, cataracts can also stem from health conditions like diabetes, injury to the eye, trauma, and uveitis (inflammation). 

Cataract symptoms in a Rottweiler include:

  • Cloudy pupil
  • The reluctance in jumping or climbing stairs
  • Clumsiness
  • Changes in eye size or color
  • Constant scratching or rubbing of the eyes
  • The hesitation in moving in dim lights

These symptoms may start as mild but can quickly become more severe if you don’t bring your Rottweiler to the vet.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Proper cataract diagnosis requires a vet examination, which may eventually lead to medication or surgery.

A vet visit will help rule out other eye conditions, many of which share cataracts’ common symptoms.

Most cataracts can be treated with surgery, where the damaged lens is removed and replaced by an artificial one.

If there’s severe retina damage, the procedure may not be helpful, and a vet might recommend other ways to help reduce pain and increase comfort.

Dog Eye Growth, Tumors, and Cysts

tumor eye rottweiler

Eye growths on your dog can either be a solid tumor or a cyst. These are masses that mostly appear on a canine’s eyelid and can be simple benign masses or cancerous tumors.

Most of them result from glad issues or could be due to breed predisposition. 

All the same, before you get to know how serious a mass on your Rottweiler’s eye is, don’t ignore them.

Growths, tumors, and cysts may continue to grow unless adequately treated, and the continued growth can lead to more pain, discomfort, and other eye symptoms on your dog. 

Causes and Symptoms

Although there is no particular reason why dogs develop eyelid tumors, cancerous or benign, trauma and genetics can play a part in their growth.

Other breeds susceptible to eyelid growth include Bulldogs, Bloodhounds, and Dachshunds.

One of the most common eye growths is called a stye, an abscess filled with pus that also swells in the lower or upper part of a dogs’ eyelid.

The small swelling is red and appears a little from the inside.

This condition can make a Rottweilers’ eyes watery but usually is not dangerous and heals on its own within a week.

When it comes to eye growths, if the swelling is still minimal, you may fail to notice it. Here are some other symptoms to look out for instead: 

  • Abnormal eyeball protrusion
  • Conjunctival swelling
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Inflamed cornea
  • Constant rubbing of the eye

Diagnosis and Treatment

A condition like a stye will heal independently. Still, by keeping your Rottweiler’s eye area clean, you can help to treat it.

In most cases, a warm moist cloth held on the sty several times works as an at-home treatment method.

However, you should still take your dog to the vet if you notice unusual eye growths.

Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

pink eye rottweiler

Conjunctivitis is an eye condition that causes inflammation of the outer thin clear tissue suspended over the eyes’ inner white part that lines the eyelid.

The disease is highly contagious and spreads quite quickly between dogs (either in multi-dog households or at kennels and boarding facilities).

Causes and Symptoms

Some obvious causes of pinkeye include allergic reactions to dusty or smoky conditions, foreign bodies like grit and dirt, injuries to the eye, growths and tumors, bacterial infections, dry eyes, and immune system diseases.

Signs of pinkeye in a Rottweiler include:

  • Swollen and watery eyes
  • Thick discharge
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitive eyes to light
  • Itchy and red eyes

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treating pinkeye may require a complete eye examination that includes an eyeball pressure test and a test for possible ulcers.

Your vet may then prescribe antibiotics and other anti-inflammatory eye drops and creams to correct the condition.

A mild eyewash can also soothe eye irritation.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

pra rottweiler

Also referred to as Progressive Retinal Degeneration, this eye condition involves gradual wasting of retinal or photoreceptor cells.

Over time, the decay settles in; hence the name ‘progressive.’ Rottweilers are more at risk for PRA than other breeds.

Causes and Symptoms

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited or genetic eye problem.

While this condition isn’t painful and might not be easy to detect in its early stages, sight loss can happen slowly.

Some key signs of a PRA infection include:

  • Night blindness
  • Nervousness at night
  • Aimless bumping into objects and walls
  • Reluctance to move in dim light
  • Opaque or cloudy eyes
  • Dilated pupil

Rest assured, testing for this condition isn’t painful.

Diagnosis and Treatment

PRA has no permanent cure and will lead to sight loss over time. However, most dogs manage to live with the condition even after ultimately becoming blind.

Some dogs may not even experience complete sight loss. The good news for dogs who suffer PRA is that the condition is not painful.

The best way to help a Rottweiler with PRA is to put him in a familiar environment for quick adjustment and adaptation.

Other eye problems common among Rottweilers also include:

  • Corneal damage
  • Dry eyes
  • Glaucoma


From this review, most common eye problems in Rottweilers have closely related symptoms.

For an accurate diagnosis, consult a certified vet to undergo testing and receive a prescription.

Regular medical checks on your dog by a vet would also help prevent or detect other problems before they escalate.

conclusion eye problems rottweiler


  • Fido Savvy: Dog Eye Problems – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
  • Canna-Pet: Rottweiler Health Issues and Problems
  • ASPCA Pet Insurance: Top Eye Problems for Dogs
  • Rottweiler Pup Dog: Common Rottweiler Health Problems
  • Wag Walking: Eyelid Tumors in Dogs – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Click here to read my post about common general Rottweiler health issues

Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society

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