Posts Tagged ‘dry eye’

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.

Conjunctivitis
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
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!


Source: https://www.petsbest.com/blog/dogs-with-goopy-eyes-ears

Photo by Kamille Sampaio from Pexels

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Cherry eye (prolapsed conjunctiva) in a 2 year-old ShihTzu. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Used by permission of the owner.

Cherry eye (prolapsed conjunctiva) in a 2 year-old ShihTzu. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Used by permission of the owner.

It may not be pretty, but the good news about the condition known as “cherry eye” is that it is typically more of a nuisance than a medical emergency.

Dogs and cats have, in each eye, a nictitating* membrane, which is commonly referred to as a “third eyelid.” You may have noticed the thin, white sheet of tissue that appears to cross the eye diagonally, when your pet blinks.
*Nictitating means winking.

The third eyelid is positioned at the inside corner of the eye, between the outer lids and the eyeball. It helps protect the eye, as a physical barrier and by spreading tears over the surface of the cornea with each eye blink.

The third eyelid also has a gland which produces tears. It is this tear gland that sometimes falls out of place (an event known as a prolapse), swells, and assumes the appearance of a cherry, due to irritation and poor blood circulation.

Cherry eye is more commonly seen in dogs than in cats. Dogs most often affected by cherry eye are Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Boston Terriers, and ShihTzus. Burmese and Persian cats are thought to be more at risk than other cat breeds. In either species, cherry eye can appear in one or both eyes.

Lucky 2

Notice how the prolapsed tear gland remains in place as the eyeball moves beneath it. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Used by permission of the owner.

 

In some pets, a cherry eye will appear and disappear on its own, at intervals. In others, once the tear gland has prolapsed, it will not return to its proper size and position without surgical intervention.

A popular current surgical technique is the tuck, in which the prolapsed gland is tacked into place with a suture. No surgery is without risk, however; in this case, the tuck may not hold, leading to repeat surgeries.

In the past, when the role of the third eyelid was not as well understood, surgeons removed the gland altogether, which carried the risk that the pet would develop “dry eye” from a lack of sufficient tear production. In the current tuck technique, the gland remains attached, so that it can continue producing tears, which protect the eye.

Although cherry eye is not life-threatening, it can lead to further problems if left untreated. The prolapsed gland may become injured or infected, since it was not designed to be exposed to elements outside the body. As a result of injury or infection, the pet’s eyesight could be harmed.

If you notice a red swelling at the inside corner of your pet’s eye, it could be a prolapsed tear gland. Have your vet check it out to be sure; if it is a cherry eye, your vet will recommend the proper treatment.

Note: This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to diagnose or suggest a course of treatment for any pet. As always, your veterinarian is the best source of information, and he or she can provide a professional medical opinion upon examining your pet.

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Want to read more? Check out these articles at Pet MD and VetStreet.

This article originally appeared on January 10, 2013.

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Cherry eye in a 2 year-old ShihTzu. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Used by permission of the owner.

Cherry eye in a 2 year-old ShihTzu. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Used by permission of the owner.

It may not be pretty, but the good news about the condition known as cherry eye is that it is typically more of a nuisance than a medical emergency.

Dogs and cats have, in each eye, a nictitating* membrane, which is commonly referred to as a “third eyelid.” You may have noticed the thin, white sheet of tissue that appears to cross the eye diagonally, when your pet blinks.
*Nictitating means winking.

The third eyelid is positioned at the inside corner of the eye, between the outer lids and the eyeball. It helps protect the eye, as a physical barrier and by spreading tears over the surface of the cornea with each eye blink.

The third eyelid also has a gland which produces tears. It is this tear gland that sometimes falls out of place (an event known as a prolapse), swells, and assumes the appearance of a cherry, due to irritation and poor blood circulation.

Cherry eye is more commonly seen in dogs than in cats. Dogs most often affected by cherry eye are Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Boston Terriers, and ShihTzus. Burmese and Persian cats are thought to be more at risk than other cat breeds. In either species, cherry eye can appear in one or both eyes.

Lucky 2

Notice how the prolapsed tear gland remains in place as the eyeball moves beneath it. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Used by permission of the owner.

In some pets, a cherry eye will appear and disappear on its own, at intervals. In others, once the tear gland has prolapsed, it will not return to its proper size and position without surgical intervention.

A popular current surgical technique is the tuck, in which the prolapsed gland is tacked into place with a suture. No surgery is without risk, however; in this case, the tuck may not hold, leading to repeat surgeries.

In the past, when the role of the third eyelid was not as well understood, surgeons removed the gland altogether, which carried the risk that the pet would develop “dry eye” from a lack of sufficient tear production. In the current tuck technique, the gland remains attached, so that it can continue producing tears, which protect the eye.

Although cherry eye is not life-threatening, it can lead to further problems if left untreated. The prolapsed gland may become injured or infected, since it was not designed to be exposed to elements outside the body. As a result of injury or infection, the pet’s eyesight could be harmed.

If you notice a red swelling at the inside corner of your pet’s eye, it could be a prolapsed tear gland. Have your vet check it out to be sure; if it is a cherry eye, your vet will recommend the proper treatment.

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Want to read more? Check out these articles at Pet MD and VetStreet.

Read Full Post »