Severe squinting with spasms of the muscles around the eye is a symptom of a
painful eye. Any painful eye condition can cause squinting. The tightening of
the muscles rolls the eyelids in against the eye.
Once rolled in, the rough edges of the lids and the hairs rub against the
eyeball, causing further pain and spasms.
Treatment: Anesthetic drops can be applied to the eyeball to relieve the
pain and break the cycle. The relief is temporary, unless the irritating factor
is identified and removed.
Bacterial blepharitis isa condition in which the eyelids become thick,
reddened, inflamed, and encrusted. Mucuslike pus may adhere to the lids.
Blepharitis in puppies occurs primarily in association with puppy strangles. In older dogs
it can be associated with various skin diseases, including canine atopy, demodectic mange, autoimmune
diseases, and hypothyroidism.
Staphylococcal blepharitisoccurs in both puppies and adults. It is
identified by small white pimples on the edges of the eyelids. The pimples
Treatment: Blepharitis is treated with oral and topical antibiotics. To remove adherent
crusts, use a washcloth soaked in warm water as a daily compress over the
eyelids. Three or four times a day, apply a topical ophthalmic ointment or
solution containing neomycin, bacitracin, or polymyxin B. Your veterinarian may
prescribe an ophthalmic ointment that contains corticosteroids.
Blepharitis is difficult to cure. Some dogs require long-term treatment.
Dogs with chronic blepharitis should be checked for hypothyroidism. Any primary
cause will need to be treated.
Foreign Bodies in the Eyes
Foreign material such as grass seeds, dirt, and specks of vegetable matter
can adhere to the surface of the eye or become trapped behind the eyelids. Dogs
who ride in the open bed of a pickup truck and in the cars with their head out
the windows are at high risk for getting dirt and debris in the eyes. Thorns,
thistles, and splinters can also penetrate the cornea. This is most likely to
happen when a dog is running through dense brush and tall weeds.
Signs of a foreign body in the eye are tearing and watering, blinking,
squinting, and pawing. The third eyelid may protrude to
protect the painful eye.