Category Archives: Eyes

Common Eye Problems in Dogs

 A dog’s eyes perform a nearly miraculous function – converting reflected light into nerve impulses that the brain uses to form images of the world. To do this well, all the various parts of the eye must be healthy. Unfortunately, a number of diseases can disrupt the way a dog’s eyes function. Let’s take a look at some of the most common eye problems dogs experience and how pet parents can manage them.

1. Cherry Eye

Dogs have three eyelids – two that are readily visible and an extra one, called the third eyelid, that normally hides from view below the inner corner of the eye. The third eyelid is home to a tear producing gland.

Normally, this gland is also invisible, but some dogs have a congenital weakness of the ligaments that hold it in place. When these ligaments fail, the gland pops out of its normal location and looks a bit like a “cherry” stuck at the inner corner of the eye. Because this condition often has a genetic basis, both eyes are usually affected over time.

2. Corneal Wounds

The surface of the eye is covered with a clear, skin-like tissue called the cornea. Just like the skin, the cornea can be injured, and lacerations (cuts), punctures and ulcers are all quite common in dogs. Trauma is often to blame, like when a dog runs through tall grass and gets poked in the eye. In other cases, problems with the eyes themselves (like poor tear production or abnormal anatomy) can put dogs at risk for corneal damage. A dog with a corneal wound will often rub at the affected eye and squint because of pain. The eye may also be red and have excessive drainage.

Treatment for corneal wounds involves preventing or treating infections with antibiotic eye drops or ointments, managing pain and giving the cornea time to heal. In severe cases, surgery or other treatments may be needed to protect or repair the cornea and promote healing.

3. Dry Eye

When dogs develop a disease called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye, their tear glands produce fewer tears than normal. Tears perform important functions like removing potentially damaging material from the surface of the eye and nourishing corneal tissues. Unsurprisingly, a lack of tears can cause big problems including corneal ulcers, chronic drainage of mucus from the eyes and pain.

Mild cases of KCS can sometimes be managed with frequent application of an artificial tear solution, but medications that stimulate tear production (e.g., cyclosporine) are usually necessary. Surgery that redirects a duct carrying saliva so that it moistens the eye is an option in severe cases.

4. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

The conjunctiva are the mucus membranes that cover the inside of a dog’s eyelids, both sides of the third eyelid and some parts of the eyeball. “Conjunctivitis” or “pink eye” are interchangeable terms that simply mean “inflammation of the conjunctiva.” The symptoms of conjunctivitis include reddened and swollen conjunctiva, eye drainage and discomfort.

Conjunctivitis should be thought of as a symptom of disease, not a disease itself. Many conditions cause conjunctivitis in dogs, including physical irritation (like dust and inward growing eyelashes), infections (bacterial and viral are most common) and allergic reactions. Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Sterile saline eye washes are available over the counter and can be used to flush irritants from the eye. Bacterial eye infections usually resolve quickly when treated with an appropriate prescription antibiotic eye drop or ointment.

5. Glaucoma

Within the eye, the production and drainage of fluid is precisely balanced to maintain a constant pressure. Glaucoma occurs when this balance is disrupted and pressure within the eye increases. Symptoms include pain, eye redness, increased tear production, a visible third eyelid, corneal cloudiness, dilated pupils and in advanced cases, an obviously enlarged eye.

Call your veterinarian immediately if you are worried that your dog might have glaucoma because delaying treatment can result in blindness. Treatment may involve a combination of topical and oral medications that decrease inflammation, absorb fluid from the eye, lower fluid production within the eye and promote drainage of fluid from the eye. Surgery may also an option in some cases.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372

Cat Eye Discharge — What’s Normal and What’s Not

 A tabby cat with eyes closed.

Cat Eye Discharge — What’s Normal and What’s Not

Cat eye discharge can be completely normal or something to bring to your vet’s attention ASAP. Here’s how to determine what’s worrying and what’s not.

Do your cat’s eyes ever get watery, goopy or downright crusty? It can be a little gross, but beyond that, cat eye discharge can sometimes indicate an eye problem that needs to be looked at by your veterinarian. If you’ve ever wondered if your cat’s eye boogers are normal or what could be causing them, you’re not alone.

“Tears are produced constantly throughout the day and normally drain at the corner of the eye without spilling over,” says Beth Kimmitt, D.V.M., resident of ophthalmology at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, Indiana. “If something causes irritation to the eye, more tears are produced. Irritation to the eye or blockage of the normal drainage pathway may lead to tears that spill over onto the face.”

Read on to get the scoop on what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to cat eye discharge:

1. A small amount of discharge is probably nothing to worry about.

“While technically a normal eye should not have any ocular discharge, a small amount of clear discharge, which may dry and appear slightly brown and crusty, may be OK,” Dr. Kimmitt says. If your cat just gets those morning eye boogers, the eyes are more than likely fine.

2. Some breeds are more prone to eye boogers.

Due to the shape of the face, Persians, Himalayans and other cats with short noses and large, round eyes might have more eye leakage than other cats. This might be normal, but if the discharge is excessive, ask your vet.

3. Some cat eye problems warrant a trip to the vet.

Yellow or green eye discharge is not normal — if your cat has colored discharge, make a vet appointment as soon as possible. “If there is enough discharge that you have to wipe your pet’s eye(s) more than one to two times daily, or if your cat is squinting or frequently rubbing at its eye(s), or if the eye(s) look red, it should be seen by a veterinarian,” Dr. Kimmitt says. When it comes to your cat’s eye issues, don’t delay making that vet appointment — your cat’s eyes and eyesight might depend on it.

4. Many things can cause abnormal eye leakage in cats.

Cat eye discharge is a sign of many different eye diseases and disorders, including corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis and entropion (an eyelid that rolls inward, allowing the hairs on the skin to irritate the eye). Your veterinarian will examine your cat and possibly perform certain tests to find out what exactly is causing your cat’s eye discharge.

5. It’s important to keep your cat’s eye area clean.

Use a soft, wet cloth to gently wipe away any discharge. “There are also a variety of veterinary products available to help clean around the eyes,” Dr. Kimmitt says. “Just be sure to find one that is labeled as safe to be used around the eyes, and avoid any product that contains alcohol.”

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

We offer:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

310 919 9372

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com

5 Types of Dog Eye Discharge (and What They Mean)

 

Eye discharge is a common problem in dogs. Some types are completely normal, while others are associated with potentially serious health concerns. Pet parents need to understand the various types of dog eye discharge and what each may mean.

1. A Little Goop or Crust

Tears play an essential role in maintaining eye health. They provide oxygen and nourishment to the cornea (the clear layer of tissue at the front of the eye) and help remove any debris that might get trapped there. Tears normally drain through ducts located at the inner corner of each eye, but sometimes a little bit of goop or crust will accumulate there.

This material is made out of dried tears, oil, mucus, dead cells, dust, etc. It is most evident in the morning and is often perfectly normal. The goop or crust should be easy to remove with a warm damp cloth, the eyes should not be red, and your dog should not exhibit any signs of eye discomfort (rubbing, squinting, blinking, and sensitivity to light).

2. Clear and Watery

Excessive eye watering (epiphora) is associated with many different conditions that run the range from relatively benign to serious. Allergies, irritants, foreign material in the eye, anatomical abnormalities (e.g., prominent eyes or rolled in eyelids), blocked tear ducts, corneal wounds, and glaucoma (increased eye pressure) are common causes of epiphora in dogs.

If your dog has a relatively mild increase in tearing but his eyes look normal in all other respects and he doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, it is reasonable to monitor the situation. Your dog may have simply received a face full of pollen or dust, and the increased tearing is working to solve the problem. But if the epiphora continues or your dog develops red, painful eyes or other types of eye discharge, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

3. Reddish Brown Tear Stains

Light colored dogs often develop a reddish brown discoloration to the fur below the inner corner of their eyes. In the absence of other problems, tear staining in this area is normal and is just a cosmetic concern. If you want to minimize your dog’s tear stains, try one or more of these solutions: Wipe the area a few times a day with a cloth dampened in warm water or an eye cleaning solution; keep the fur around your dog’s eyes trimmed short; and/or add an antibiotic-free nutritional supplement that reduces tear staining to your dog’s diet.

Keep in mind that it can take several months for porphyrin stained fur to grow out and for the effects of any of these remedies to become obvious. If you notice an increase in the amount or a change in the quality of your dog’s tear staining or if your dog’s eyes become red and painful, make an appointment with your veterinarian for an eye examination.

4. White-Gray Mucus

Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS) is a condition that usually develops when a dog’s immune system attacks and destroys the glands that produce tears. With tear production being less than normal, the body tries to compensate by making more mucus to lubricate the eyes.

But mucus can’t replace all the functions of tears, so the eyes become red and painful and may develop ulcers and abnormal corneal pigmentation. Left untreated, KCS can result in severe discomfort and blindness. If you notice white-gray mucus collecting around your dog’s eyes, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

5. Yellow or Green Eye Discharge

A dog whose eyes produce yellow or green discharge often has an eye infection, particularly if eye redness and discomfort are also evident. Eye infections can develop as a primary problem or as a result of another condition (corneal wounds, dry eye, etc.) that weakens the eye’s natural defenses against infection.

Sometimes what looks to be an eye infection is actually a sign that a dog has a systemic illness or a problem affecting the respiratory tract, nervous system, or other part of the body. Any dog who looks like he might have an eye infection should be seen by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Diana Ruth Davidson,  Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid

We offer:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana@WestsideDogNanny.com
310 919 9372