Eye infections can strike your dog at any time, and they can be difficult to detect. Dogs, like people, can suffer infections and inflammation in their eyes.
Bacteria or viruses can infect your dog’s eyes, and irritants can cause inflammation. It’s critical to work with your veterinarian to figure out what’s causing your dog’s eye infection. They’ll be able to tell if there’s some underlying issue that caused your dog’s eyes to become infected in the first place.
Maintaining your dog’s comfort and eye health requires correct treatment and care for his or her eye infection and any underlying issues. How can you know if your dog’s eye is red or discharged because of allergies, an infection, an injury, or irritation?
I’d like to show you how to recognize the symptoms of a dog eye infection, as well as the causes, treatments, prevention, and when to contact your veterinarian.
Infections of the Dog’s Eyes Symptoms
Excessive eye discharge is the most visible sign of a dog eye infection. However, not all dog eye discharge is created equal. To discover if it’s allergies or something more serious, go through this list:
In the Corner of the Eye, Goop or Crust:
Eye boogers affect almost all canines (and humans) at some point. The eyes are irritated by dried tears, mucus, dust, dead skin cells, and other irritants. This is normal and usually isn’t a cause for concern unless it gets out of hand. That doesn’t make it appealing to the eye. Simply soften and gently wipe away any goop or crust from the surrounding fur with a warm, moist cloth to remove dog eye boogers safely.
The eyes are pawed.
Because eye infections can be irritating or unpleasant, your dog may paw at their eyes or drag their faces around your flooring or furniture. Because these movements may cause further harm to your dog’s eyes (such as scratching the delicate surface of their cornea), your veterinarian may recommend that your dog wear a cone (Elizabethan collar) while their eye infection is treated.
Eyes that are wet:
Watery eyes can be caused by dust, allergies, and other harmless irritants, and they will usually return to normal in a day or two. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out anything more serious if the problem worsens, changes, or your dog appears unhappy.
Mucus that is white or grey in colour:
Light-colored mucus is usually an indication that your dog’s eyes aren’t producing enough tears. In response, his eyes create too much mucus to keep them hydrated, but this isn’t enough to keep them from irritating. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to get the problem diagnosed. She’ll probably prescribe artificial tears or dog eye drops to keep your dog’s eyes moist and healthy and prevent further issues.
Increased discharge or “eye boogers” from one or both of your dog’s eyes may be noticed. If the discharge is thicker than usual, colored (such as white, yellow, or yellow green), or there is much more discharge than usual (even if it is clear), it’s time to see your veterinarian.
Squinting or excessive blinking of the diseased eye might be caused by irritation or pain (s).
Multiple indications, such as a red, squinty eye, will frequently appear at the same time.
Because if germs infect the eye, the immune system will respond with inflammation (discharge, redness, and/or swelling), which can be uncomfortable (causing pawing and squinting).
Allergies, a corneal ulcer, dry eye, or trauma in dogs might seem similar to this, so if you’re concerned, have your dog undergo a comprehensive ophthalmologic exam.
Infections in the eyes of dogs are caused by a variety of factors.
Viral and bacterial infections are the two most common causes of canine eye infections. Bacterial infections are much more common. Bacterial eye infections are produced by minute unicellular living organisms that require an opportunity to infect the eye. Because the local defences of the eye are compromised, viruses (protein and nucleic acid-based infectious agents), damage to the eye, and dry eye illness can all provide ideal conditions for bacteria to invade and proliferate.
The tear film in a dog’s eyes does a fantastic job of self-cleaning. As a result, when germs infect the eye, it’s almost never due to the bacteria alone, but rather to something undermining the eye’s integrity.
A bacterial infection caused by an injury to the eye, such as a scratch or ulcer, is the most prevalent cause of eye infections in dogs. A dog’s cornea (the transparent layer forming the front of the eye) is frequently injured by a claw or during rough play, and the wound becomes infected with bacteria, preventing it from healing. You’ll see your dog frowning in pain, but you won’t normally see the wound itself.
Unwelcome guests entering your dog’s eye can potentially cause bacterial illnesses. Foreign bodies in the eye, such as fur or hair, can sweep bacteria into the eye, resulting in infection. Dust, trash, and plant material are examples of other alien bodies. Unless removed, these things can become lodged under your dog’s third eyelid (the dotted T-shaped organ in the picture above), causing inflammation and infection.
Eyelids that turn inward or outward (as in Basset Hounds), eyelash irritation, or tumours of the eyelid can all predispose your dog to bacterial infections. A dog’s tear film can also make them more susceptible to bacterial infections and dry eyes.
How to Treat Dog Eye Infections
The cause of eye infections in dogs determines the treatment. It’s critical to see your veterinarian to determine the source of the problem and begin treatment. To treat the infection, promote healing, relieve any discomfort or itchiness, and possibly treat the underlying condition, your veterinarian may prescribe eye drops and/or ointment.
Pain medication may be prescribed if an eye injury has occurred. Certain oral medications and/or injections may be prescribed if the infection is deeper within the eye.
If your dog has an eye infection, there are some things you can do at home to help them feel better.
Keep the area around your eyes clean. Cleaning the area around your dog’s eyes if there is a buildup of discharge can aid in healing. Gently wipe the area with a clean, soft cloth moistened with just warm water. Do not use any peroxide, chemicals, or human makeup removal pads. Do not touch their eyes. If you’re not able to easily remove the discharge, or there is debris inside their eye, contact your veterinarian. There may be some complicating factors that need attention.
Use the cone. Your veterinarian may prescribe a cone for your dog to wear during the treatment of their eye problems. A cone can help ensure that the treatment has the best chance of working and that your dog’s eye(s) are not further damaged. If your dog is having trouble adjusting to the cone, talk to your veterinarian about suggestions or other alternatives before discontinuing its use.
You can also provide supportive care at home to help with your pet’s comfort level.
Home remedies can flush the eye but are only a short-term solution if your dog already has an infection. Nutri-Vet Eye Rinses are a good idea if you’re seeing just a little clear discharge and a little redness. It’s important not to use human eye drops or medications as dogs can have adverse reactions to these human medications.
I recommend Nutri-Vet Eye Rinse Liquid for Dogs when flushing a dog’s eye at home. Be sure to use a clean cotton ball after rinsing to catch and wipe the drainage. Refrain from touching the eye with the nozzle tip, your hands, or the cotton ball.
What if Something Is Stuck in my Dog’s Eye?
Removing a foreign body from your dog’s eye may have some risks involved. If you can see that it’s easily removable without causing your pet any additional pain or further injury, for example, a loose hair, then this is fine for you to remove. If the object is something larger and potentially injurious, removal may require special tools or sedation, which should be done at the vet’s office.
When to See Your Vet?
If you continue to see signs of irritation, swelling, and redness after rinsing your dog’s eye, then it’s time to see your veterinarian.
After performing an ophthalmic exam and some specific eye diagnostics, your vet may also prescribe topical antibiotics for you to administer to your dog if she suspects a bacterial infection. These will be relatively easy for you to administer at home.
Preventing Dog Eye Infections
Since dogs are often playful and energetic in environments with opportunistic organisms, preventing eye infections can be difficult. One prevention method is to carefully trim the longer hairs around their eyes to prevent constant irritation of the hair in their eyes. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can ask a professional groomer.
If you go hiking with your dog or trek to the desert, you could consider having him or her wear dog goggles, such as those made by Doggles, which protect the eyes from UV light, dust, and plant fibres.
Eye infections in dogs are very treatable and can be easily identified using the criteria listed above. If you have concerns or questions regarding your dog’s eyes, these can be addressed by your veterinarian.
While your dog may prefer his nose to see the world, the eyes give an important window into his health, too.