Everything you need to Know about Dog Eye Discharge
Dog eye gunk. It happens. But why?
The medically correct term for dog eye gunk is discharge. Discharge can range from a clear, watery consistency (allergies or a foreign body in the eye may be the root cause) to a pus-like discharge with a tendency to crust, which could be a sign of a bigger problem.
If your dog has clear eye discharge, chances are good it’s caused by allergies or something physical, like dust in the eye or wind blowing in the face. A watery discharge or mucus from one eye is often a sign of a foreign body, like an eyelash, while yellow-green or pus-like eye discharge could indicate a serious infection.
What are the causes?
Or, as we humans call it, pink eye. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the outer layer of the eye and inner layer of the eyelid, often paired with dog eye gunk that appears as a yellow-green puss-like discharge that crusts overnight, as well as bloodshot whites and excessive blinking or itching.
Watery Eye aka Epiphora
Some dogs—and humans, for that matter—have constantly watery eyes. But with Epiphora or excessive tearing, the eyes are, well, just that: excessively wet.
The problem lies in the duct not being able to properly dispose of excess tearing, which is especially common in flat-faced dog breeds. And sometimes the stream of tears can lead to a darkened area around the eyes, especially in light coloured dogs. This is called ‘Tear Stains’.
Visit the vet to figure out what’s causing the discharge, then treat accordingly—in some cases, relief from Epiphora will require tear duct surgery.
A sticky, tenacious eye discharge could point to canine dry eye — a failure to produce enough eye-cleansing tears. Dry eye — symptoms can also include mucus and inflammation — may be the result of distemper, injury, a knock in the head near a tear-producing gland, or the body’s own immune system attacking the tear gland tissue. Infection is a serious risk for dogs with dry eye and can lead to painful, inflamed eyes.
When should I worry?
Like human eyes, dog’s eyes need lubrication to function normally. So how do you know if your dog is having eye problems?
Keep an eye out for tell-tale signs of eye issues:
- Excessively watery eyes
- Excessively dry eyes
- A noticeable increase in eye discharge
- Change in eye discharge consistency or colour
- Rubbing or pawing at the eyes
- Excessive blinking
- Bloody or excessively bloodshot eyes
- A visible foreign object in the eye
Dog eye discharge is common, but it’s important to know exactly what is causing your furry friend’s eyes to be filled with gunk. Once you determine the reason for the eye discharge, you can take proactive steps to treat it so your dog can see clearly and be happy once again.
Always consult with your vet whenever you’re concerned about the health of your dog so they can help you take steps to ensure he has a better, healthier life.