Yorkshire terriers, commonly known as Yorkies, are highly intelligent, brave, and energetic toy dogs. They are wonderful companions but they can be prone to certain health problems such as eye infections and related complications.
Abnormal eyelash growth and tear duct problems in Yorkies can cause staining, irritation, and discomfort. Ocular discharge is common in all dogs although it may be of concern if your dog has green eye boogers that appear excessive or pus like. Dogs can suffer a great deal of pain from eye infections, so it is important to know how to clean your dog's eyes safely and identify when urgent veterinary attention is needed.
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Understanding what makes a dog's eyes gunky
Ocular discharge in dogs is often caused by normal eye drainage. Sometimes the discharge will appear as a crusty or slimy substance — usually brown or gray — and is found around the duct of the eye after the dog has been sleeping. This is typical for most dogs and is nothing to be concerned about.
If the discharge is yellow or green, however, it is then called purulent discharge. This type of yellow green dog eye discharge is often an inflammatory response or the result of cellular activity and should be closely monitored.
How dog eye drainage can cause discomfort in Yorkies
Some Yorkies have abnormal eyelashes, or distichiae. This is abnormal eyelash growth where the eyelash is either growing in the wrong direction or growing in an abnormal location. Often, this abnormal location is from or adjacent to the duct of the meibomian gland, which is along the eyelid margin. But these can also occur at other areas along the eyelid.
The position of this breed's eyelashes can result in numerous eye-related problems such as tearing, squinting, corneal abrasions, and scarring, but ocular discharge is the most common. The discharge itself, is simply the result of the eye's natural self-cleaning process. If this natural process is disrupted for some reason, eye gunk may become problematic.
Yorkies are also predisposed to keratoconjunctivitis sicca, which is known as dry eye. This occurs when the dog's tear glands are no longer able to keep the eye moist and can be very painful.
Cleaning up your dog's eye crust
It is always best to prevent eye problems by keeping the eyes clean and free of excessive discharge. If you notice discharge building up in or around the eye duct, gently wipe the inner eye area with a warm, damp cloth.
You may notice, in and around your Yorkie's tear duct that there is some crusty green goop. Dogs' eyes can become very sore when ocular discharge has become hardened and crusty, especially if it is tangled in their hair. This type of dog eye crust may be more challenging to remove.
Try to make this experience as pleasant as possible for you and your Yorkie. Wait until they are calm and relaxed. You may want to sit on the floor with your dog, or have them up on the sofa with you. Gently, hold a warm damp cloth over the affected area to moisten the crusty eye gunk. To ensure you can keep the damp cloth warm, keep a bowl of warm water close by, so that you can refresh it.
You can use plain water, or buy saline solution, which can help soften the gunk. As the discharge softens, gradually remove it a little at a time. If, after cleaning the area, you notice that the skin looks raw or sore, seek veterinary advice as medication may be required.
Prevent eye discharge in Yorkies
It is a good idea to have a daily routine with your Yorkie, when you clean and check their eyes regularly to make sure there is no build up of eye discharge. One way to help prevent excessive eye discharge is to roll up the windows in moving vehicles when the dog is inside to prevent the wind from drying the dog's eyes and adding to the irritation. Because of the hereditary nature of distichiasis, avoid breeding two dogs who have this condition.
When to visit your veterinarian for Yorkie eye discharge
Because Yorkie's are known to suffer from eye disorders, it is always important to get them to the veterinarian before a serious issue develops. If you notice that your dog's eyes are watering excessively, are red, or they have had purulent discharge that has continued for 48 hours, you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Other symptoms to look out for would include bulging or swelling eyes and dilated pupils.
Eye infections, abnormally located eyelashes, and dry eye can all be painful for dogs, So if you observe that your dog is blinking excessively, squinting, or showing obvious sensitivity to bright lights, it is likely that your dog is suffering from discomfort and needs veterinary attention. If your dog is pawing at or rubbing his eyes, this is a further indicator of irritation and pain.
Untreated eye disorders in Yorkies can become veterinary emergencies and lead to serious complications if they are not caught early. By following good management and grooming routines and being aware of the warning signs, you will be able to help your Yorkie maintain good eye health.