When keeping track of your dog's overall health, be aware of issues with his eyes. Whether you see physical symptoms or notice subtle signs that his eyes are bothering him or his sight is changing, you should always consult a veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pooch. Sometimes symptoms could be indicators of more than just one health problem. Getting your vet involved will increase your pooch's chances of quick recovery.
Just telling the vet that your dog has discharge coming from his eyes isn't enough to help her narrow down the problem. There are different kinds of fluid that could be coming from your dog's eyes, and just because it's clear doesn't mean it's harmless. Clear discharge could indicate an infection or allergies, or it could mean your pup's eyes have become irritated -- maybe he's gotten specks of dirt in one or both. A yellowish discharge could be a sign of dry eye, which is a type of bacterial infection brought on by the tear glands not producing a sufficient amount of tears. Bleeding from the eye could indicate an injury -- he got in a fight, perhaps, or ran into the business end of a stick or branch. Bleeding accompanied by abnormally bulging eyes is a disorder called prolapse of the eyeball, a condition that pushes the eyeball from the socket.
If your dog's eye is swollen or he has swelling around his eye, don't wait to see if it heals on its own. While inflammation on, in or around they eye could be from something as simple as an allergy or an irritation from dust or dirt in it, swelling could also be a symptom of injuries, ingrown eyelashes, an eyelid gland infection or even glaucoma or cataracts.
Your dog's eyes could start to cloud over as he ages. Regardless of how old he is, your vet should be made aware if this happens. It could mean he has corneal dystrophy, degeneration, infection or injury. Cloudy eyes are also symptoms of cataracts and other problems with your dog's lenses. One disorder, called "blue eye," is a symptom of infectious hepatitis.
The loss of sight is traumatic enough itself, but blindness or failing vision can be a sign of other health issues. Of course, just as with humans, an aging dog could have changes in his vision as a result of growing older. But dogs of all ages may lose their sight due to progressive retinal atrophy or dysplasia, stroke, cataracts or a genetic disorder like collie eye.
Tumors and Cysts
Dogs can develop growths on their eyelids or in their eyes. Some could be tumors and others may be cysts. Even if your vet determines that a tumor is not cancerous, she may still advise having it removed to keep it from irritating your dog's eye. Cysts that rub against your pooch's eye will cause constant watering; your vet will likely advise removing those, too. Cherry eye is a disorder that may appear to be a tumor on your dog's eye, but is really a tear gland that has become enlarged.
By Elle Di Jensen
Web MD: Symptoms of Eye Problems in Dogs
ASPCA: Eye Care
DogChannel.com: Dog's Odd-Looking Eyes
North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Ophthalmology - Special Services, Technology, & Information
ASPCA Complete Dog Care Manual: Bruce Fogle
About the Author
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.