Posts Tagged ‘conjunctivitis’

How to Help Your Dog’s Goopy and Itchy Eyes and Ears, Part 1

Close-up of man and dog eyes

Your dog may have these eye ailments in common with you!

Dr. Chris Roth, DVM

As a vigilant dog owner, it’s important to monitor unusual symptoms in your pet to keep them healthy. Ignoring issues can not only lead to an irritable pup, but to bigger, more costly problems. Dog eye discharge and itchy dog ears are two common afflictions that our four-legged family members suffer from. In this article, we will cover the various causes of these conditions and offer possible treatments.

Common Causes of Irritated Dog Eyes
If your dog is suffering from itchy or inflamed eyes, the culprit can range from a condition that is relatively easy to fix to something more serious. An understanding of the following dog eye infections might provide valuable insight into your dog’s situation.

When are a Dog’s Goopy Eyes a Cause for Concern?
The inner corner of your dog’s eyes is where her tear ducts are located. From time to time, goop or crust might form in this area as a result of an accumulation of dried tears, oil, and mucus. Most times the substance will be clear, but it can also be brown in color. This is completely normal. So long as your dog’s eyes are not red and they aren’t agitated by the goop or crust, there is no need to worry.

You can simply take a moist cotton ball and wipe her eyes clean of the discharge. If your dog, however, is rubbing her eyes or blinking and squinting frequently, you should bring her in to see a veterinarian, as this could be a symptom of the conditions listed below. Treating your dog with over-the-counter eye drops is not recommended without first consulting with a medical professional.

If the lining of your dog’s eyelids becomes inflamed, she might have conjunctivitis. This ailment, which is akin to pink eye in humans, can trigger a clear and runny discharge or yellow-green pus in one or both of your dog’s eyes. Conjunctivitis can also make your dog’s eyes red, crusty, and swollen. You might see your pup blinking excessively, pawing at her eyes, or keeping her eyes closed.

The cause of conjunctivitis can be allergies, environmental irritants, or a bacterial infection. Once you bring your dog to a veterinarian, the doctor will examine your dog’s eye to see if a foreign body is causing the problem. If this is the case, the debris or object will be removed. If an allergy is responsible for the condition, your vet might prescribe antihistamines. If a bacterial infection turns out to be the cause of the conjunctivitis, your dog will be given eye drops and antibiotics. There is no reason to worry that you’ll contact conjunctivitis from your dog as it is not contagious.

Epiphora is an eye ailment that causes an abnormal flow of tears. Tearing is a natural reaction to an irritant and acts to flush away foreign bodies from the eye. But if your dog’s eyes are overly wet, and it’s not a result of something getting into her eyes, you should investigate the matter further. Epiphora can cause a darkening of fur around your dog’s eyes. Other symptoms of this condition are squinting, inflammation, redness and irritation, and discharge from the eye.

The causes of epiphora can be wide-ranging and include allergies, a parasite in the eye, glaucoma, sinusitis, or a blocked tear duct. Some breeds are susceptible to a blockage of their tear ducts or poor eyelid function as a result of a deformity. Treatment for epiphora will depend on what your vet finds to be the underlying cause and can range from topical solutions to surgery.

Dry Eye
The opposite of a dog with excessively watery eyes is one with dry eyes or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). The condition can be caused by congenital or immune related causes. It can also be the side effect of certain medications or previous surgeries to treat “cherry eye.” Symptoms include decreased tear production or insufficient tear secretion. These symptoms can lead yellow or gray, goopy discharge, eye redness, corneal ulcers, and blindness in extreme cases.
Dog breeds such as Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and Pugs, can be predisposed to dry eye.

KCS is most commonly caused by a response from the dog’s immune system, which can cause inflammation and deterioration of glands in the eye. Toxicity caused by sulfa drugs, hypothyroidism, and canine distemper can also create trouble with a dog’s tear film. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dry eye and ongoing treatment is required. A daily administration of topical medications will stimulate tear production and replace tear film, which will keep your dog’s cornea protected and healthy.

Part II focuses on itchy ears — stay tuned!


Photo by Kamille Sampaio from Pexels

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Today we present a guest post by Dr. Heather Brookshire, a veterinary ophthalmolgist at the Animal Vision Center of Virginia.
By Dr. Heather Brookshire
Animal Vision Center of Virginia
It’s so much fun to bring our pets to the beach or park, but we can occasionally see ocular problems such as conjunctivitis (“pink eye”) or corneal ulcers from the irritating effects of sand and wind-borne grass and particles on the surface of the eye. Pets are especially prone to these medical issues since they are so much closer to the ground! 
As an example, meet Ein*. We saw this 10-month old Corgi earlier this year to examine a non-healing corneal ulcer. His owner had been treating him for the past two weeks, with no improvement. When he told us that Ein loves to bound through the grassy fields near home, we discovered the culprit – a large and bristly grass awn that had become imbedded behind his third eyelid. As you will see in this video, it took just a moment to retrieve the irksome grass particle. Ein, and his owner, were quite relieved!
There are many months ahead for our pets to enjoy a romp in the great outdoors, so please keep the following solutions close at hand to administer relief to irritated eyes:
  • To flush out sand or wind-born particles, use a sterile saline eye-irrigating solution to rinse out your pet’s eyes if your notice any squinting or redness.   
  • Try using an over-the-counter topical lubricating drop (such as Genteal gel, Refresh pm, Blink, and Systane) after a long day at the beach to help sooth your pet’s irritated eyes.
  • If your pet is used to spending most of their time indoors, a sudden change in the amount of time spent outdoors during the summer can occasionally cause a flare-up of allergies (both systemic and ocular). Ocular signs of allergies can include increased redness, itchiness, pawing at the eyes and increased discharge from the eyes. Use one of the lubricating drops mentioned above, or try an over-the-counter topical antihistamine drop such as Zaditor, Allaway, Naphcon-A, or Claritin-eye to temporarily alleviate your pet’s discomfort. 
  • Finally, and this is very important, if your pet does not get better after 1-2 days of trying these at-home remedies, seek urgent veterinary care from either your local family veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist, as eye conditions can progress very rapidly.

Reprinted with permission.

This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and is not a substitute for an examination by your pet’s veterinarian.

Your pet’s eyes are delicate organs. If you have a concern about your pet’s eyes, Contact Us to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian.

*Ein is a patient of AVCV; Little Creek Veterinary Clinic is not associated with this patient or its treatment.

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