While day-to-day clear eye discharge is normal and nothing to be concerned about, excessive or abnormal eye discharge is another matter. It is a sign indicating that there may be some problem with the dog’s eyes. Sometimes, dog eye discharge can also be a symptom of some health problem not related to the eyes.
If your dog has abnormal eye discharge, give him a thorough eye examination to see if you can find out the source of the problem.
In addition, note that not all eye discharge is the same. Different types of discharge indicate different dog eye problems.
|Discharge||Other Signs||Possible Dog Eye Problems|
|Clear||No||Tearing mechanism problem|
|Clear||Redness||Pink eye (Conjunctivitis)|
|Yellow/thick green; mucoid||With or without pain||Infection; foreign body in eye|
|All kinds of discharge||Pain||Corneal or inner eye problems|
Take your dog to the vet if:
- The eye discharge is excessive
- The discharge is greenish in color; or bloody; or mucoid-like
- The surrounding eye tissues are red and inflamed
Possible Causes of Eye Discharge
Most cases of eye discharge in dogs are caused by some kind of eye problems, such as:
- Dry eye
- Cherry eye
- Corneal ulcers
- Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
- Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids)
- Uveitis (inflammation of the iris and blood vessel layers in the eye)
Sometimes, eye discharge is caused by some form of structural abnormality in the dog’s eyes. For example:
Entropion and Ectropion
Eyelid defects, such as inward rolling of the eyelids (entropion), or outward rolling of the eyelids (ectropion) can cause irritation and eye discharge.
Eyelash disorders, such as distichiasis, ectopic cilia, and trichiasis can also cause eye discharge in dogs.
Distichiasis is a condition in which the eyelashes grow out along the edge of the eyelid and rub on the cornea.
Ectopic cilia is a condition in which the eyelashes grow out from the inside of the eyelid rub against the cornea.
Trichiasis is a condition in which the eyelashes on the outer eyelids are too long that they rub on the eye.
Other Eye Structural Abnormalities
Other eye problems that may occur and cause eye discharge include:
- Obstruction of tear drainage ducts due to abnormal tear ducts or tear duct openings
- Lens luxation (dislocation into the front chamber of the eye)
Finally, trauma and injuries can also cause eye discharge in dogs:
- Trauma to the eye
- Trauma to the nose, palate or bones of the face around the eye
- Foreign objects getting into the eye
Health Problems Not Related to The Eyes
Besides canine eye problems, some other canine health problems can also cause excessive or abnormal dog eye discharge. For example:
- Kennel cough
- Canine atopy
- Root infection and abscess of the back upper teeth
- Nasal tumors
As you can see, there are a lot of possible causes of dog eye discharge. It is important to note and inform your vet the characteristic of the discharge, as well as other signs and symptoms that your dog may be showing in addition to the eye discharge. This information can help the vet make a proper diagnosis.
Eye Wash for Dog Eye Discharge
Sometimes, a dog may just have excessive eye discharge with no other symptoms, and the dog behaves normally and looks fine. In that case, you can first use a saline solution to clean the eye and monitor the condition for a couple of days. If excessive discharge continues for over two days, it’s time to see a vet.
You may also want to consider using a natural eye wash product to clean and soothe your dog’s irritating eyes, and remove foreign debris and encrustation that build up in the mucous membranes of a dog’s eyes. Also use a gentle eye wipe to clean out the “gunk” in your dog’s eyes.
Preventing Eye Discharge and Eye Injuries in Dogs
There are quite a few things that you can do to protect your dog’s eyes. For example:
- Observe and check for abnomalities in your dog’s eyes regularly
- Wipe the eye discharge gently away with a moist cloth every day
- Trim any long facial hair regularly especially around the eye area to avoid eye irritation
- Protect your dog’s eye when using shampoo or applying flea/tick repellents
- Avoid exposing your dog to allergens and irritants as much as possible (e.g. plant pollen and seeds, toxins, household chemicals, etc.)
- Never use human OTC eye drops on your dog
- Visit your vet annually for an eye examination