Your dog can contract an eye infection from a scratch, bacteria, a virus or as a complication of a cold, allergies or even dry eyes. Eye problems require immediate veterinary attention to ensure infection doesn’t spread and that your dog’s eyesight is preserved.
Symptoms of Eye Infection
Common canine eye infections include blepharitis and dacryocystitis. Your dog may present with red, swollen eyes with a discharge containing pus and mucus. Green or yellow mucus is usually a sign of a serious infection such as conjunctivitis. It may be difficult for your dog to blink or keep his eyes open because of the irritation. If the infection spreads, your dog could experience fever and lethargy.
Excessive Tearing and Dry Eye
Excessive tearing, or watery eyes, can be a symptom of corneal ulcers, glaucoma, tumors or tear duct inflammation. Dry eye can lead to infection, as it may be the result of injury or disease. Your vet’s primary objective will be to examine your dog and his symptoms and evaluate the underlying cause of the condition. He may recommend antibiotic eye drops if a primary infection is present, or to protect against a potential secondary infection.
Diagnosing Eye Problems
Your vet will perform a clinical exam and ask for your dog’s health history. He may collect a sample of your dog’s eye discharge to culture and examine. In some cases, particularly if an infection resulted from a puncture or tear wound, an ophthalmic examination might be required to assess the full extent of the problem.
Antibiotic Eye Drop Treatment
Antibiotic eye drops come in both liquid and gel form. Your vet will determine which type of antibiotic to use based on your dog’s specific condition. Common antibiotics used in treating canine eye infections include neomycin, erythromycin, bacitracin, polymyxin, tetracycline and tobramycin. If your dog’s infection is complex, your vet may mix different antibiotics into a custom blend eye drop. Dogs typically are prescribed drops for several days; proper dosage is important to resolve the eye problem. Never use drops meant for humans without consulting your vet.
Administering Eye Drops
Ask your vet to show you the best way to administer your dog’s antibiotic eye drops. Depending on the size and strength of your dog, it may take two people to get the job done. You may opt to kneel behind your dog with one arm around his shoulders and your body bracing his back. Use your dominant hand to pull down the lower lid and your other hand to place the drops. You can use the same approach with your dog lying on a flat surface. You also may be able to cradle or swaddle small dogs for the task.
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