Is a Dog Eye Discharge an Emergency? Find Out What It Says About Their Health

Eye discharge is common for dogs, particularly in small breeds. It can be an indication of minor allergies to severe infections, such as glaucoma or conjunctivitis, resulting in loss of sight if neglected. Dogs with flatter faces like boxers, pugs, bulldogs, and Pekingese are more susceptible to eye discharge than the other types. It’s because they have shallow eye sockets and bulging eyes.

As their owner, you are accountable for your pet’s health and long life. So, it helps if you know some common health concerns among dogs. These include the ears, skin, animal dentistry concerns, and their total health.

Major Reasons For Eye Discharge in Dogs

Typical dog eye discharge includes watery eyes, a little goop or crust, white-gray mucus, yellow or green, and reddish-brown tear stains. If you suspect that your pet’s eye discharge is not normal, take them to a pet ophthalmologist for assessment.

1. Conjunctivitis

Known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is an inflammation of a pet’s eye lining. Since it causes pain, dogs often blink or squint and paw at their infected eye. Symptoms include a clear or green discharge from that eye or the sclera (white part of the eye) and eyelids, or the area surrounding their eye is swollen and red.

You can also see them blinking excessively or keeping their eyes closed. This infection in canines is a result of various conditions, such as:

  • Allergies
  • Viral infections
  • Irritation from foreign particles
  • Injury
  • Parasitic infections
  • Obstructed tear ducts
  • Existing eye conditions (glaucoma, anterior uveitis, ulcerative keratitis)
  • Trauma to the eye
  • Birth defects

2. Epiphora or Excessive Tearing

Rather than a specific health problem, epiphora is more of a symptom of many underlying diseases, including allergies, inflammation, corneal ulcers, irregular eyelashes, eye pain, and even tumors. Infected dogs typically have watery, teary eyes with reddish-brown staining of the fur underneath their eyes.

3. Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers can be a simple health problem or abrasion of the eye’s tissue caused by minor trauma. Deeper ulcers often suggest a bacterial infection, which is considered an emergency due to the threat of eye rupture.

The most common signs are squinting, redness, and discharge. They are usually painful, forcing an infected dog to squint, blink exceedingly, or even hold their eyes entirely closed. The white of their eyes also becomes red and sometimes swollen.

4. Dry Eye

When a dog’s eye fails to produce adequate tears that naturally cleanse its eyes, it usually makes a sticky, firm discharge. You can also see some mucus and swelling. Dry eyes can result from an injury, distemper, or their own body’s immune system attacking their tear gland tissue.

Depending on the severity, treatments include:

  • Artificial tears for some weeks for mild cases
  • Antibiotic eye drops to aid in managing secondary infections
  • Immunosuppressant drugs to help control the immune system
  • Surgery

5. Glaucoma

Glaucoma results from excessive pressure in the eye that manifests only in a few days with symptoms, such as cloudy eyes, pus-like discharge, bulging eye or eyes, and sometimes tearing. This condition is painful and causes infected dogs to lose their appetite or even vomit.

The veterinarian may prescribe medications to manage ocular pressure but may also advise surgical treatment. 

Many pet owners don’t realize that there is a study that links glaucoma and dental problems. Meaning, if you neglect one area of their health, it may result in overall wellness problems. Besides, Dogs need to have their teeth checked at least once per year. If your vet doesn’t offer dental services, maybe you should consider moving on and finding another one. 

Ask your friends, relatives, or people you know and Google for recommendations. For instance, go online and search for “pet dentistry near me” if you’re looking for a dental vet. This can help you limit your search within your location. The last thing you want is to travel for more than an hour for a vet emergency.

Avoiding Eye Problems in Canines

Before it even occurs, avoid eye problems that can injure your pets by routinely inspecting their eyes. They must be bright and crust-free without any redness around the white of their eyes. Ensure that their pupils have the same size and there must be no or little tearing, no squinting, and their inner eyelids should not show up.

Gently pull down your dog’s lower lids, which should be pink and not white or red. If there’s tearing, discharge, cloudiness, tear-stained fur, noticeable third eyelid, unequal-sized pupils, closed or squinted eyes, it’s time to visit a veterinarian.

Choosing the Right Vet for Your Dog

Selecting a veterinarian for your furry friend plays a vital role in their health. That’s why you need to ensure you’re dealing with the right animal doctor. Generally, you can tell they’re reputable and reliable if their vet facility has veterinarians of different specializations, such as dermatology, emergency and critical care, internal medication, etc.

It’s also important that you consider a vet clinic near you so that you can arrive in a short period during emergencies. On top of these, see to it that they are open 24/7, as this emergency vet in Cordova, if you’re from the area.