Cane Corso Red Eyes: Causes and Symptoms

A Cane Corso’s eyes turning red is a concern that plagues many dog owners. This can be confusing, and alarming.

The dilation or widening of the blood vessels in the conjunctiva (white part of the eye) and the surrounding tissues of the eye results in redness of the eyes, which is very noticeable.

So, what causes Cane Corso red eyes? Is it normal or not?

We outline the reasons behind a Cane Corso’s red eyes and when to seek help.

Why does my Cane Corso have eyes red?

A Cane Corso’s red eyes can be caused underlying medical conditions including allergies, dry eyes, eye infections, corneal ulceration, environmental irritants, cherry eye, and eye injuries.

Cane Corso red eyes

Cane Corso Eye Color

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes one main eye color for Cane Corso, that is, brown eyes as the breed standard.

Is it normal for a Cane Corso to have red eyes?

It is not normal for a Cane Corso to have red eyes, however, occasional instances of redness can occur due to underlying causes. It is therefore important to distinguish between occasional red eyes and chronic or severe redness, as the causes and implications can vary.

Common causes of Cane Corso red eyes


A Cane Corso’s red eyes can be caused by allergies, just as they can in humans. Allergies are the result of the immune system’s overreaction to a normally harmless substance, such as pollen, dust, mold, certain foods, or environmental irritants. 

When a Cane Corso with allergies comes into contact with or inhales these allergens, it can trigger various allergic reactions, including red eyes.

Red eyes are often accompanied by other allergic symptoms in dogs, such as sneezing, runny nose, itching, skin rashes, or gastrointestinal upset.

See Also: Cane Corso itching so much (Here’s why)

Eye infections

Red eyes in a Cane Corso can be caused by eye infections due to the inflammatory response triggered by the infection. 

When bacteria, viruses, fungi, or other pathogens invade the eye or its surrounding tissues, the body’s immune system responds to combat the infection. 

Common Cane Corso eye infections include conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva), keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), and uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, which includes the iris).

In addition to redness, eye infections can cause other symptoms such as discharge (which may be clear, yellow, or greenish), squinting, increased tear production, cloudiness or opacity of the eye, and discomfort.

The severity of redness in the eyes can vary depending on the type and severity of the eye infection. Some infections may lead to mild, temporary redness, while others can cause more pronounced and long-lasting redness.

Corneal ulceration

The cornea is the clear, protective outer layer of the eye, and when it becomes damaged or develops an ulcer (an open sore) it can lead to a defect or break in the corneal tissue and inflammation which causes red eyes.

Corneal ulceration can be caused by various factors, including trauma, foreign objects in the eye, bacterial or fungal infections, or underlying eye conditions.

Other symptoms that occur alongside red eyes include excessive blinking, discharge, cloudiness or opacity of the eye, and sensitivity to light (photophobia).

If left untreated, corneal ulcers can lead to serious complications, including vision loss and further damage to the eye. 


Red eyes in a Cane Corso can also be caused by a condition called Ectropion. Ectropion is a condition in which a dog’s lower eyelid rolls or droops outward, exposing the inner surface of the eyelid and the underlying sensitive tissues. 

These tissues are not accustomed to being exposed, and their exposure can lead to irritation and inflammation including the conjunctiva (the clear membrane covering the white part of the eye and inner eyelids) and the surrounding tissues resulting in excessive tearing and redness of the eyes.

The condition also creates a warm, moist environment conducive to the growth of bacteria which leads to secondary eye infections which further increase the redness and discomfort.

A Cane Corso with ectropion often experiences discomfort and may squint or paw at their eyes which can contribute to redness and swelling of the eye.

The condition is typically a congenital condition which means it is present from birth, and it can affect one or both eyes. In some cases, it may not become apparent until a Cane Corso matures and their facial tissues change with age.


Entropion is the opposite condition of ectropion. Entropion is a condition in which a Cane Corso’s lower eyelid rolls inward toward the eye, causing the eyelashes and skin to rub against the clear front surface of the eye.

The inward rolling of the eyelid causes the eyelashes and skin to come into direct contact with the sensitive cornea and conjunctiva (the clear membrane covering the white part of the eye and inner eyelids). This constant friction and rubbing against the eye surface leads to irritation, inflammation, and discomfort.

This also leads to excessive tear production, squinting, rubbing at the eyes, or a thick discharge which contributes to redness.

Similar to Ectropion, the Entropion also creates a warm, moist environment conducive to the growth of bacteria which leads to secondary eye infections which further increase the redness and discomfort.

Environmental irritant

A Cane Corso can be exposed to various environmental irritants that can irritate their eyes, leading to severe irritation, redness, and discomfort.

Environmental irritants include pollen, dust, mold spores, smoke particles, pollutants, household chemicals or cleaning agents that accidentally get into the eye or foreign objects such as small plant parts or insect debris, which can get lodged in the eyes


The Cane Corso’s red eyes can also be caused by the presence of eye cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding or opacity of the eye’s natural lens, which is located behind the iris (the colored part of the eye). The lens plays a crucial role in focusing light on the retina at the back of the eye, allowing animals to see clearly.

Cataracts themselves do not typically lead to red eyes in the Cane Corso, but their presence indirectly causes other eye-related issues that may lead to redness.

The presence of cataracts can lead to secondary issues in the eye, such as inflammation or increased pressure within the eye (glaucoma) which cause redness, pain, and discomfort in the affected eye.

Cani Corsi with eye discomfort due to cataracts or secondary issues may scratch or rub their eyes with their paws which can also contribute to redness, irritation, and further complications.

In some cases, a Cane Corso with cataracts may be more prone to eye infections, which can result in redness and discharge from the eye.


Glaucoma is an abnormal increase in the pressure within a Cane Corso’s eye which can result in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss if not caught early.

This increased pressure is often caused by a buildup of the clear fluid that circulates within the eye to maintain its shape and nourish its structures.

The pressure leads to compression of the blood vessels that supply the eye’s tissues, restricting blood flow to the eye and surrounding tissues leading to redness. This is often most noticeable in the visible portion of the eye, contributing to the appearance of red eyes.

Dry eyes

Cane Corso red eyes can also be caused by dry eyes due to the irritation and inflammation caused by insufficient tear production and tear film instability. 

Tears play an important role in maintaining the health and comfort of the eyes. When tears are inadequate, this can lead to redness.

A Cane Corso with dry eyes may blink more frequently or forcefully in an attempt to spread the insufficient tears across the eye. This excessive blinking can further irritate the eye and contribute to redness.

Dry eyes also make the cornea more vulnerable to bacterial infections which can cause redness, discharge, and discomfort.

Dogs with dry eyes may sometimes have excessive tearing as a response to the discomfort. The excess tears do not effectively lubricate the eye, contributing to redness.

Cherry eye

Cane Corso cherry eye is a condition that leads to red eyes in a Cane Corso due to the inflammation and irritation associated with the condition. Cherry eye occurs when the tear gland located in the third eyelid (nictitating membrane) protrudes or “pops out” of its normal position. 

When the tear gland prolapses or becomes visible in the corner of the eye and becomes exposed, it is no longer protected by the third eyelid. This exposure can lead to inflammation and irritation of the gland itself and the surrounding tissues.

In some cases, the exposed gland and surrounding tissues can become more susceptible to bacterial or fungal infections. Infections can cause additional redness, discharge, and discomfort.

Eye injuries

Eye injuries can lead to red eyes in a Cane Corso due to the inflammatory response and damage to the delicate structures of the eye. 

When an injury occurs, the body’s natural response is to protect and repair the affected area, which can result in redness. 

Eye injuries can result from various types of physical trauma, such as blunt force, scratches, foreign objects, or accidents. The trauma can cause immediate damage to the eye’s tissues.

Inflammation can lead to swelling of the eye and its surrounding tissues which further contributes to the red appearance of the eye.

Eye injuries also make the eye more vulnerable to bacterial infections, which can result in additional redness, discharge, and discomfort.

Related: Causes of Cane Corso limping 

When to see the veterinarian

If your Cane Corso has red eyes, consult with your veterinarian. While occasional and mild redness can sometimes be due to benign factors like allergies or temporary irritation, persistent or severe redness, along with other symptoms, can be indicative of underlying health issues that require professional attention. 

Signs that indicate that you should see a veterinarian immediately include:

Persistent Redness: If your Cane Corso’s eyes remain consistently red for more than a day or two, it’s a sign that something may be amiss and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.

Other symptoms are present: Other symptoms might accompany your dog’s red eyes, therefore take note. This includes excessive tearing, discharge (especially colored or pus-like discharge), squinting, pawing at the eyes, cloudiness, swelling, or changes in behavior. These can be indicators of underlying eye problems that require veterinary assessment.

Changes in vision: Changes in your dog’s vision, such as bumping into objects or difficulty seeing, is a concerning sign that necessitates prompt veterinary care.

Pain or discomfort: If your Cane Corso appears to be in pain or discomfort due to their red eyes, it’s essential to seek professional help. Dogs may not always show overt signs of pain, but behavior changes can indicate distress.

Frequent recurrence: If your dog experiences recurrent episodes of red eyes, it’s important to identify the underlying cause, as chronic eye issues may require ongoing management.

Trauma as the cause: If your Cane Corso’s red eyes are due to trauma or an obvious foreign body in the eye, it’s important to consult your veterinarian immediately for evaluation and treatment to prevent further damage.

Breeding considerations: If you plan to breed your Cane Corso or suspect a hereditary eye issue like entropion, consult with your veterinarian to assess the condition and discuss breeding implications.

Related: Cane Corso diarrhea: When it’s normal and when it’s not

Takeaway: Cane Corso red eyes

The red eyes of a Cane Corso should not be ignored. While occasional redness may be experienced, persistent or severe redness, along with other concerning symptoms, may indicate underlying health issues. 

Always consult with a veterinarian to ensure the well-being of your beloved Cane Corso and address any potential eye problems promptly. 

Early diagnosis and treatment are key to maintaining their eye health and comfort.