PetMeds: Managing Eye Discharge (Mucus) in Dogs and Cats

Eye discharge is a common pet problem

A common concern of many pet owners is the presence of discharge in their dog’s or cat’s eyes. While this symptom is quite common, most of the time it is not significant and does not require medical treatment. The most common cause of discharge (often referred to as “eye crust”) is airborne allergens which can cause weepy eyes as in people. Other times, frequent eye discharge can indicate a clogged tear duct, although in this case the discharge is usually much thicker. Many times these mild discharges bother the owner more than the pet, and so I often advise clients to leave such issues alone.

When asked about eye discharge or mucus, I simply advise clients to wipe it away with a moist cloth or with some mild Visine eye drops. Most cases do not need veterinary attention and/or antibiotic therapy. However, if the discharge displays any of the below symptoms, then a veterinary exam would be recommended for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms to look for with eye discharge in pets:

  • Discharge becomes thicker
  • Discharge develops a green or yellow color
  • Discharge has a bad odor

Many pets with light-colored coats will often have dark staining under their eyes because of certain pigments in the tears and/or clogged tear ducts. As a result, clients will often ask about medications to reduce or eliminate the staining. The product Angels’ Eyes for dogs and cats works quite well; however, in the past this product has relied on the use of 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. Angels’ Eyes Natural Tear Stain Remover has since been reformulated without the use of Tylosin.

Many dogs develop conditions where their eyes don’t produce adequate tears, called dry eye, which can lead to a thick mucus 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 to the more expensive Optimmune prescribed by many veterinarians.

If the above treatments do not help, or your pet’s eyes are severely red or light sensitive, it’s always best to have a veterinary exam to rule out more serious eye infections or ulcers. For simple infections or eye ulcers, I have found inexpensive prescription antibiotics such as Terramycin or B.N.P. Triple Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment to be as effective as some of the more expensive prescription drugs.

Due to the importance of the eyes and the potential for more serious eye conditions, if pet owners are ever in doubt, it is always best to have a proper eye exam by either a general veterinary practitioner or a veterinary ophthalmologist to rule out  more serious disease of the cornea.

Have pet health questions? For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form.

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104 Comments

  1. Ok so my cat has did charge coming outta his eyes and now outta his ears and his ears stink and eyes are red and puss and help on what I could give him I can’t afford the vet???

  2. HI Martina. You can try zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds to ears which may help as well as oral antihistamine like chlorphenirimine at dose of 2 mg twice daily, which is over the counter at drug store in case problems is with allergies. if signs persist or worsen, you must see vet for exam and workup

  3. All my dogs have gotten green mucus coming out of their eyes severely just this summer. It started when a new dog came into the house. They where medicated with antibiotics and eye ointment. The new dog left them seemed fine. New dog came back two weeks later it’s happening again … could or couldn’t be due to new dog??? Alls I know Is nothing is working now….

  4. Hi Brittany and thank you for your question. For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form. We hope your dog is feeling better soon!
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

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