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Discharge From a Dog’s Eyes

Common Causes and Treatments of Eye Discharge in Dogs continued...

Called brachycephalic breeds, dogs with more prominent eyes may have tear drainage problems; eyelids that roll inward (entropion), causing great irritation by the lashes; or lids that don't close fully over their eyes, a condition that can require surgery. 

Breeds with loose facial skin, like bloodhounds, cocker spaniels, beagles, Saint Bernards, and some terriers, are more prone to eyelids that roll outward (ectropion), as well as cherry eye, a condition that occurs when a gland in the eyelid falls out of position. While antibiotics and steroids can help, surgery is often necessary for these conditions. 

These are just a few common causes of eye discharge in dogs. Because eye problems can be a sign of brain or nerve injury, infection, or other serious problems, have your dog's eyes checked by a veterinarian to find out what's behind your dog's eye discharge.

Steps for Applying Your Dog's Eye Medication

Treatment for eye problems sometimes requires eyedrops or ointments, both easier to administer with a few quick tips: 

  • Have the eyedrops or ointment close at hand, then clean away any discharge around your dog's eyes with warm water and a cotton ball.
  • For eyedrops, tilt your dog's head back a little. Then, resting your hand on your dog's head so you don't hit its eye with the dropper if the dog moves, squeeze drops into the upper part of your dog's eye.
  • To apply eye ointment, gently pull down your dog's lower lid, creating a pocket for the ointment. Rest your hand on your dog's head. That way, if the dog moves, you won't hit the eye with the ointment applicator. Then squeeze a ribbon of ointment into the dog's eye. 
  • Gently pinch your dog's eye closed for a few seconds to help spread the ointment or drops evenly.

 

Preventing Eye Problems in Dogs

First, take a good look at your dog's eyes. The pupils should be the same size and your dog's eyes should be bright, crust-free, with white around the iris. There should be little or no tearing, no squinting, and the inner eyelids shouldn't be visible. Gently pull down your dog's lower lids: they should be pink, not red or white. 

If you see tearing, discharge, tear-stained fur, cloudiness, a visible third eyelid, closed or squinted eyes, or pupils of unequal size, something could be wrong. It's time to give your vet a call. 

To help keep your canine companion's eyes bright and healthy, keep long hair out of its eyes (use round-tipped scissors to trim the hair); keep irritants like shampoos, soaps, and flea medicine away from the eyes; and, finally, watch for signs that may indicate an eye problem, like pawing or rubbing.

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WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on March 24, 2013

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