If you’ve noticed that your dog or cat has an eye infection, dealing with it properly matters! Our FAQ about Pet Eye Infections can help you understand your pet’s condition, and what remedies are available to keep your buddy in the best of health.
How is a diagnosis made, and what are signs of eye infections?
A veterinarian will know if a pet is suffering from an infection of the eye by evaluating the coloring of the eyes, the type of discharge noticed if applicable, and behavioral actions of the animal. Some signs of an eye infection include redness of the eyes, constant squinting or blinking, or symptoms that a pet is in pain when the area around the eyes is touched. The matted fur around the eyes from discharge may also be noticed.
What is the importance of treating eye infections?
Failing to get a dog or cat treatment for an eye infection in a timely manner can lead to a variety of other problems. The pet may suffer from extreme pain if the infection isn’t remedied. The dog or cat may also try to scratch at their eyes with paws to reduce pain. This puts the pet at risk for additional injuries. Blindness is also the result of an eye infection if not treated properly and in a timely manner by a veterinarian.
How does an eye infection occur and why is seeing a veterinarian helpful?
An eye infection is often the result of an allergic reaction to pollen or dust. Taking the time to trim your pet’s fur, if it’s long around the eyes, will help to keep discharge from accumulating. If discharge settles around the eye and is not cleaned, a secondary infection can occur. Cleaning your pet’s eyes with a damp piece of cloth on a routine basis will help to keep bacteria out of the eyes. Some dogs, like the Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds, are prone to eye infections due to their genetic makeup. Seeing a veterinarian for routine check-ups will help to catch eye infections in their earliest stages, and medication is administered to clear them quickly.
What can symptoms of eye infections mean?
If you see a thick mucus layer covering or clouding the eye, it may be a sign of dry eye or conjunctivitis. That happens when your pet isn’t getting enough moisture from their tear ducts. It could be a minor issue, or as serious as an infection that interferes with tear production.
A red growth in the corner of the eye can be produced when what’s called a “nictitating membrane,” or more commonly a “third eyelid,” protrudes from under the lid.
If you notice eyelids that curl under, they may have a condition called entropion which can cause irritation.
An inflammation of the inner structures can lead to uveitis and commonly presents as blood or pus in the front area of the eye.
Just like humans, animals can also have cataracts that manifest as opaque spots on the eye’s lens.
Do I need to treat eye infections right away?
While a small scratch or irritation might heal itself within 24-48 hours, more serious problems need immediate treatment. Some conditions need surgery to correct the problem and keep your pet healthy. While it may be allergies or a small irritant, it could also be a serious condition, including glaucoma.
What should I do if I see warning signs?
If you’re comfortable doing it, gently, and very carefully, clean any discharge or puss that you can easily remove. If your pet has hard mucus on or around their eyes, see a veterinarian rather than trying to clean it yourself. If the condition doesn’t clear up within 48 hours, it’s time to talk to the professionals.