Eye discharge (epiphora) in dogs - causes, control
Eye discharge in dogs
Watery eyes in dogs are not uncommon. Some breeds even have a predisposition to it due to anatomical characteristics. However, it is not uncommon for watery eyes to be a sign of further inflammation of the eye. For this reason, you should not simply ignore these symptoms, but examine them more closely. In the following article you will get an overview of various causes of watery eyes, what is behind them and what treatment methods are available.
Basics and causes of watering eyes
When a dog's eyes water, this is also called epiphora and basically refers to the excessive secretion of a watery secretion from the affected eye. The discharge can appear either watery and clear, but in some cases it can also be yellowish-purulent to slimy white. Basically, you can recognize such a disease by the tear duct or secretion groove, which is located below the affected eye. But also the moist fur around the eye can indicate eye flow.
The causes of epiphora can be quite different, because symptoms of this type often occur in diseases of the eyes. However, in some cases, dust or irritating substances can cause watery eyes. The following causes, among others, can indicate eye discharge:
- Foreign body
- Eye injuries
- Glaucoma (green star)
- Closed tear duct
Watery eyes can also be an indication of inflammation of the eye skin or sinuses. A fracture of the eye socket, tumors, infectious diseases as well as paralysis of the facial nerve can also be the case.
Symptoms of epiphora in dogs & diagnosis
The extent to which tearing develops basically depends on the cause. Teary eyes can be either unilateral or bilateral. If the cause is conjunctivitis, for example, the substance often turns yellow to grey and may even take on a mucous consistency in some cases.
As a result of corneal inflammation or allergic reaction, the discharge from the eyes is usually clear and watery. If it has already reached a chronic stage, a so-called lacrimal duct or secretion groove often forms. At this the fur is stuck together and shows a reddish-brown discoloration.
The irritated eyes are usually very itchy, so that the animal tries to scratch its eyes more often.
If you have noticed these characteristics in your dog, you should definitely consult a veterinarian. He will carry out a detailed eye examination in order to find out the cause of your four-legged friend's suffering.
During this examination, the vet will specifically look for eye injuries, foreign bodies or even visible tumors. Apart from that, a swab of the conjunctiva is taken, whereby invisible pathogens such as fungi or bacteria can be detected.
To find out whether the tear duct of the dog is blocked, the veterinarian also performs a special staining test. Here, fluorescein, a greenish dye, is dropped into the eye. The canal is permeable when the fluorescein is secreted. Subsequently, further examinations and tests can be carried out.
Treatment and prevention for watery eyes
Basically, treatment depends on the cause of the particular eye condition. For example, if the discharge is caused by an allergy, the vet will advise you to avoid all allergenic substances in the future. If it is a particularly difficult case, only hyposensitisation can help in the end.
If bacteria are the trigger, antibiotic and antimycotic eye drops or eye ointments will be prescribed. In addition, there are special solutions if the disease is a blocked nasolacrimal duct. Special medications and ointments are also generally prescribed for eye injuries to provide relief to the dog. In the case of tumors or eyelid malformations, only surgery will help.
Basically, watery eyes can only be prevented to a limited extent. As a precaution, you should examine your dog's eyes regularly and consult your vet immediately if there are any changes. If your dog has long fur around the head, it may be beneficial to trim the eye area to avoid further irritation.
If your dog has proven allergies, you should also take care to avoid contact with the allergens in question. As already mentioned, hyposensitisation or hypoallergenic food can help in this case.
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