What causes a cross-eyed puppy

Aha : Why do animals squint?

"It is lazy, lazy, drowsy and seems frighteningly stupid." Because of the damage it does to chickens, the opossum is hated everywhere. Even the animal's venison is inedible, according to Alfred Brehm, who didn't leave a good hair on the opossum. At the moment, however, Germany is in love with a creature of this kind: Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum from the Leipzig Zoo.

The animal with the white head and button eyes is originally from North Carolina. It was raised as a foundling in a wildlife sanctuary. And although Heidi is one of the nocturnal, shy marsupials, she is world famous today. Even Hollywood speaks of her. The highlight: Presumably she doesn't squint at all.

You know the silver look of babies and puppies. It is mostly harmless and is sometimes considered cute. The seven muscles that move each eye have yet to learn how to interact. "In puppies or young dogs, the squint usually has grown out after six months," says Corinna Eule, veterinarian at the clinic and polyclinic for small pets at the Free University of Berlin.

Treatment in children is advisable if one eye is permanently deviated from the line of sight. Because the brain usually suppresses the sensory impression of the cross-eyed eye in order to avoid blurring or double images. This can lead to lifelong poor eyesight.

Squinting can be inherited. It is therefore common in Siamese cats. Other causes in animals include autoimmune diseases or eye muscle injuries. Squinting is a serious problem for hunting dogs or hawks. Owls, on the other hand, hunt by ear, while an opossum sniffs for food. It hardly suffers from malocclusion. "It doesn't have to read a newspaper."

An operation would be nonsense for Heidi anyway. “The opossum probably doesn't squint at all,” says Corinna Eule. "You just ooze the fat next to your eyes from your eye sockets." Heidi fans succumb to an optical illusion. The animal would have a metabolic disorder and simply too much fat in the eye sockets. "The white that pushes out of the eye sockets near the eye is body fat." It forms crescent-shaped fat bulges around the eyeballs. Thomas de Padova

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