PetMeds®: Eye Discharge in Dogs

 
Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
Another common question or presentation seen in everyday small animal veterinary practice is, “Why does my dog or cat have runny eyes?” Both canine eye discharge and feline eye discharge can have many causes. In some breeds of pets such as the Persian cat or Boxer the flattened conformation of the face often leads to tear buildup in the skin folds in the corners of the eyes. Many times these mild discharges bother the owner more than the pet, and so I often advise clients to leave such issues alone. Eye discharge can stain the fur around your dog's eyes

Other times eye discharges can sometimes indicate bacterial or viral infections, or can be commonly seen in pets with allergies.  If the discharge is thick or discolored yellow or green than a veterinary exam is certainly recommended.  Sometimes such pets can also have upper respiratory symptoms of sneezing and nasal discharge, which is usually best diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian. Many other pets can have eye discharges because of clogged tear ducts, which again is best evaluated by your veterinarian who can often flush the tear ducts to allow the tears to flow easier, avoiding buildup in the corners of the eyes.

Many dilute colored breeds will often have dark staining under their eyes because of certain pigments in the tears and/or clogged tear ducts, and many clients will often ask about medications to improve the dark discoloration under these pets’ eyes commonly seen in breeds like the Maltese.   There is a very effective product called Angels’ Eyes for dogs and cats that does in fact work quite well, however it relies on the use of using an oral antibiotic called Tylosin, which in my opinion if used long term can lead to imbalance of bacterial populations in the digestive tract and antibiotic resistance of bacteria.  That is why I prefer not to use such a product long term.  Many dogs develop conditions where their eyes don’t produce adequate tears called dry eye or keratitis sicca, which can lead to a thick mucous buildup on the surface or cornea of the eye.  I have found lubricants such as Puralube Vet Ointment and LiquiTears sometimes a more practical economic alternative than the more expensive Optimmune prescribed by many veterinarians.  Also I have learned that using a drop or two of Nordic Naturals Pet Cod Liver Oil directly in the eyes 3 to 4 times daily, as well as giving it orally can also help soothe inflamed, dry or ulcerated eyes.

If the above treatments do not help or your pets eyes are severely red or light sensitive, or develops a reluctance to open the eyes or they appear in spasm, it’s always best to have a veterinary exam to rule out more serious eye infections or ulcers, as well as deeper diseases of the eyes such as glaucoma or uveitis. For simple infections or eye ulcers, I have found the inexpensive prescription antibiotics such as Terramycin or B.N.P. Triple Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment as effective as some of the more expensive prescription drugs. Neo Poly Dex Opthalmic eye drops are wonderful for those allergic eye inflammations, as long as your vet has ruled out corneal ulcers or scratches first.

Due to the importance of the eyes and the potential for more serious eye conditions, if a client is ever in doubt, it is always best to have a proper eye exam by either a general veterinary practitioner, or a veterinary ophthalmologist, who specializes in eye diseases, in order to rule out more serious diseases of the cornea and inner sections of the eyes.

Read Related Posts on PetMeds® Blog:

  1. PetMeds® Removing Tear Stains with Angels’ Eyes
  2. PetMeds® Dog Eye and Tear Stains
  3. Excessive Tearing of the Eyes in Pets
  4. PetMeds: Managing Eye Discharge (Mucus) in Dogs and Cats
  5. Treating Dry Eye in Dogs

19 Comments

  1. dennis
    Posted June 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi Michael

    Should you be recommending the Tylsoin based products such as Angels Eyes given that tylosin is not FDA approved for dogs?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Tylosin is actually a very common used antibiotic in dogs often for inflammatory bowel disease, or intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Many drugs are used off label in vet medicine. The reason I dont like angel eyes long term for chronic tear stains is that I feel that you can select out for resistant bacteria by using a product like this other than on occasion.

    [Reply]

  2. dennis
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    Sorry Michael

    I was refering more to the fact that the FDA say that products such as Angels Eyes are illegal. I think that have started to enforce the law by stopping PetsMart from selling it. have you heard anything about this?

    I do understand the importance of tylosin as an extra label antibiotic and just wanted to point out that IMHO it is illegal for dog owners to self medicate with tylosin. The sellers of these products seem to try to hide the fact that they use an antibiotic so it is nice to see a pro pointing out this fact.

    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I have not heard anything about the petsmart issue, but am in total agreement that such an antibiotic like tylosin should not be abused like that as it is a strong antibiotic, best prescribed by a veterinarian, if medically indicated, most commonly in digestive tract diseases.

    [Reply]

  3. dennis
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks once again Micheal.

    Can you claritfy whether or not it is illegal for home users to purchase tylosin (or tylosin based products) directly with the aim of using it on dogs (and not livestock) in the USA?

    Or is it only illegal in states like California?

    I ask because, owners assume that if you can buy something it must therefore be legal and thus approved by the powers that be.

    Most of the rest of the world prohibits the purchase of antibiotics without a prescription.

    Thanks- and keep up the good work

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    As far as I know, angel eyes has been available without a prescription for years in most states in the USA, even though it does have an antibiotic tylosin in it as a main ingredient.

    [Reply]

  4. dennis
    Posted June 18, 2010 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    Hi Michael

    I think that you have demonstrated the point that i am trying to clarify.

    Let me ask the question another way- Is it legal in the USA to purchase antibiotics to be used off label by home owners WITHOUT a prescription?

    Thanks yet again

    [Reply]

  5. Cathy Forrest
    Posted May 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    My dog was diagnosed with Pannus in the eyes. The vet prescribed Optimmune and has been taking it for about 4 years. Now I can hardly find the medication and at a reasonable price. Would compounded (in a corn oil base) Cyclosporine Ophthalmic Drops be a good substitue?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Compounded cyclosporine should be fine. Check with 1800petmeds pharmacist to see if they can compound it or google stokes pharmacy which you can find on line

    [Reply]

  6. Joann
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    My dog has Addison’s, since diagnoses she has had one goopy ear that has not cleared up with diet or meds from ear vets. They want to remove her ear..also since the ear problem she has developed “dry eye”, the cyclosorine in corn oil does not help.
    Do you think these are all related to the Addison’s?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I think alot of these eye problems are related to immune system not functioning optimally because of inadequate diet and internal imbalances, etc Ear discharges can also be due to dietary issues, imbalances and allergies. Would be great case to do a homeopathic workup on. Many vets who offer homeopathic consults do that type of work by phone like myself. Learn more at http://www.beyondflatearth.com as well as http://www.canineworld.com/drdym

    [Reply]

  7. jerri
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    our 12 year old chesapeahe bay retriever has always had a white discharge in her eyes, but here lately it is more of a green color. i noticed that she has been wiping the discharge with her paws then licking them. she has seemed a little tired lately and is not eating as much. we just had a baby 2 months ago and are in the middle of a move so i thought she may have been a little depressed due to all the changes going on, but since i saw this thing with her eyes i’m thinking she may have some sort of infection. could she have an infection from ingesting the discharge?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I doubt infection from ingesting eye discharge. Green color may indicate infection or inflammation. See vet for exam and evaluation.

    [Reply]

  8. Tiffiny
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    The vet said my dog had ulcers in both eyes after he did that stain test. He gave me an antibiotic ointment and said come back in a week. When I went back he administered the test again. Then told me to just put lubricating drops in his eyes now and then and keep them clear of discharge. Is this correct? Or should I be doing something more for the ulcers? Did they go away? I don’t understand.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Your vet should put a fluorescein dye on the eyes to see if ulcer is gone or not. Usually topical antibiotics indicated until ulcers have healed. There is also new product called remend by company called Virbac, which often helps heal eye ulcers if they are persistant.

    [Reply]

    Tiffiny Reply:

    He did dye the eye but didn’t say if they were gone or not. Since I still see brown spots in my dogs eyes & the discharge hasn’t cleared up so I assume they’re still there. This Remend you speak of, would that be something I could continue to use to prevent the return of the ulcers once they clear? Or should I use the Puralube I just purchased?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    The puralube is fine to use. The remend is only used when eye ulcers are present. Given your state of confusion, best to call vet to find out if ulcers still present, etc and their treatment plan for you.

  9. Martine
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Hi
    my 13 y old female dog black lab mix/blue heeler has had some discharge in the corner of one eye, seemed like dust. I clean it with a damp cloth but lately I saw a little bit more and it looks like thick clear jelly just around the corner of that eye and I see a little change on her skin all around that eye – what advice would you give me ? Ty

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Best to have vet exam and evaluation of eye for proper diagnosis and treatment, especially in a pet this age. You could try paralube moisturizing eye ointment in meantime.

    [Reply]

  10. Posted September 21, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just
    wondering if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do
    you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

    [Reply]

  11. Jannet
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi! Our Dachshund Beagle mix has had a goopy green discharge from his left eye for about a week. I have been giving him some natural allergy medicine and it seems to clear his eye up. He isn’t acting like it is bothering him at all, only when the allergy med wears off it will look a tad swollen. Just want to make sure that if he had an infection, I would not see the improvement, right?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Still could have an infection. best to have vet exam and evaluation of eye.

    [Reply]

  12. Deborah Griffis
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    My rottweiller has white mucuous around the bottom of both eyes. What could cause this?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Many things from allergies to infections to clogged tear ducts. Best to have vet exam and evaluation for proper diagnosis and treatment.

    [Reply]

  13. Posted November 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    our spaniel Sheeba is 7 tears old one of her eyes became cloudy and she has a terrible discharge in both eyes now he is running into things as if she can not see what do you think i should use to help her

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Answered previously.

    [Reply]

  14. Posted November 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    our spaniel Sheeba started getting nasty mucus in 1 eye we cleaned it every morning with sterile water and I would wipe the outside crust off…now the eye is cloudy and it seems like she can not see she runs into the wall it is happening on the other eye also …what should we use to help her

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Best to have proper vet exam and diagnosis before I can make specfic suggestions.

    [Reply]

  15. Jan
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I would take her to the vet. The cloudy eye and running into things is something a little more complex than an infection of some sort. Almost sounds like a cataract or glaucoma.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Sounds like vet visit needed for proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

    [Reply]

  16. Dave
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    My small Chihuahua has been keeping her eye closed and today, I have wiped away a mucus like discharge from the eye. I have three Chihuahua’s and the other two are fine. I’m leaning towards it being something airborne that she acquired and I am keeping a close watch on her. Is it okay to administer a basic contact lens solution or a non medicated saline solution to assist in relief? If the situation has not improved by tomorrow, I will be taking her to the vet.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I would not use over the counter eye meds without first having an exam and evaluation by your vet

    [Reply]

  17. Makenzie
    Posted September 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    My pit mix has recently started having greenish discharge in both of his eyes, I usually wipe it off with a warm, damp rag and give him a 25 mg Benadryl, it seems to work for the most part but is there anything else that I should do?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Anwered previously

    [Reply]

  18. Janet Hill
    Posted September 19, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    my labradoodle puppy 5months broke a glass lamp. i found pieces of glass around his mouth. i called the vet and they said just in case he swallowed some very tiny pieces. give him 4 slices of bread. i gave him wheat bread now, 1-2 later he has lots of eye discharge, this am he coulde not open his eyes. could it be the wheat? his food is BLUE and does n ot contain wheat. ps later the first night, he had so much energy at 10pm i was playing frizzbee just to run him

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Could be allergic eye reaction and/or infection. Best to have vet exam and evaluation and/or possibly eye medicines.

    [Reply]

  19. Isaiah
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    my 2 year old lab male has had big boogers in one eye for the last 2 weeks, and it’s a little swollen. it does not seem to bug him whatsoever, he also has really dry skin. could this just be allergies?

    [Reply]

One Trackback

  1. [...] For suggestions on pet products to address eye problems in your dog or cat, including eye discharge, read my previous blog post on Eye Discharge in Dogs. [...]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Please note: Questions and comments submitted and the answers will appear on our blog as a benefit to all pet owners. Please make sure not to include any personal information in the box where you enter your question.