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Dog eye discharge is not an uncommon problem. Often times, your dog’s eyes will water in order to flush out everyday objects such as dirt, dust and hair. Healthy dog eye discharge is a clear, water-like substance that we all recognize. However, if your dog’s eye discharge is accompanied by other symptoms such as sneezing and itching, or your dog’s eye discharge is yellow or green in color, it could be caused by a more serious condition than just a daily eye flush.
Dog eye discharge can range from mild to severe, depending on the cause. It is important to determine the cause of your dog’s eye discharge in order to seek veterinarian treatment. When in doubt, always bring your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis. Your vet will be able to tell you the exact cause, whether it is a serious ailment or a simple fix such as an allergy. Always bring your dog to the vet if your dog’s eye discharge contains mucous, is discolored, contains blood or the eyes are red and irritated.
Causes of Eye Discharge in Dogs
Knowing what to look for when dealing with dog eye discharge is important in determining the severity of your dog’s particular case. Eye discharge in dogs can be categorized by the type and color. Keep the following in mind:
- Regular eye discharge is clear, not excessive and no redness around the eyes.
- Watery eyes, or continuous clear discharge may be caused by allergies or foreign objects in the eyes.
- Pus, blood, or yellow-green discharge is the most serious kind and required immediate medical attention. These types of ailments often do not clear on their own.
Some of the most common causes of dog eye discharge include:
Dry eye – If your dog’s eye discharge is sticky and continuous, it could be caused by dry eye. Dry eye is caused when your dog’s body does not produce enough fluids to cleanse the eyes from foreign objects. Dry eye may be caused by ear infections, damaged tear ducts and canine distemper. Further infection is a high risk for dogs with dry eye.
Conjunctivitis: The most common type of eye discharge associated with conjunctivitis is mucous, pus or yellow-green discharge. The exact cause of conjunctivitis can be a little difficult to determine. It may be caused by birth defects, trauma to the lenses, blocked tear ducts, or illness. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the lining in your dog’s eye, and treatment may range from antibiotics, to topical treatments and even surgery.
Excessive tearing (Epiphora): Excessive tearing may cause eye infections easily. Other symptoms of epiphora include abnormal odor, staining of the fur and skin infections. Epiphora may be caused by many different things from allergies to tumors.
Disease: Certain diseases may cause excessive eye discharge as well, along with other serious symptoms. Some disease include hepatitis, bacterial infections, canine distemper and fungal infections.
Tumors: Tumors in the eyes or nasal passage may cause excessive eye discharge in dogs. These are diagnosed with X-rays and other medical procedures.
Allergies: As mentioned before, allergies are a very common cause of eye discharge in dogs. These allergies may be caused by airborne pollens, feathers, or dust, or may be caused by a food allergy or contact allergy as well. Determining the exact cause of your dog’s allergies can be a bit of a task, but are usually easily treatable.
Inherited disorders: These may include ailments such as dog cherry eye, diabetes, and cataracts. Certain breeds with eyes that are more exposed to the elements such as Pugs, Chihuahuas and Shih-Tsus are more prone to eye discharge and other eye problems.
Treatment for Eye Discharge in Dogs
The first thing you need to do in order to treat your dog’s case of eye discharge is to examine the eyes at home. Be sure to use rubber gloves, in case the cause is pink eye. Look for the following:
- What color is your dog’s eye discharge?
- Is there blood or mucous in or around your dog’s eyes?
- Are there any wounds in or around your dog’s eyes?
- Is there anything inside your dog’s eyes? Hairs? Eyelashes? Twigs?
- Does your dog have any other symptoms along with eye discharge?
Once you’ve inspected your dog’s eyes, it’s time to decide whether or not you need to visit the veterinarian. If your dog’s eye had something in it, you can easily flush it out with an approved saline solution and warm compress. Keep an eye on your dog’s condition for the next few days after flushing to be sure there is no infection.
If your dog’s eye discharge is more serious, it is best to bring him to the vet to have proper tests done and medication prescribed to treat your dog’s particular case. Some treatments may include pain medication, antibiotics to fight off secondary infections, eye drops or ointments.
In more serious cases, your dog may need surgery to correct eye discharge. Some ailments that often require surgery are for dog cherry eye, cataracts, and ingrown eyelashes.
Home remedies for Dog Eye Discharge
Although it is recommended to visit the veterinarian before attempting home treatments, there are some herbal eyewashes and ointments that may help with the overall health of your dog’s eyes.
Echinacea: Not only is echinacea effective for boosting the immune system, but it may be applied around the eyes because of its anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce redness and irritation.
Chamomile: Chamomile can be added to a saline solution in order to help flush out the eyes. Chamomile is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Gotu Kola: This is a topical home remedy used to heal blood vessels and skin around the eyes.