Nando had a sore eye this week. Eye problems can be really urgent, so here is my checklist of what to look for, and when to go to the vet:
Is the puppy holding the eye open, partially closed, or fully closed?
- If the eye is wide open, monitor it closely for a few days.
- If the eye is partially closed, and remains that way for over an hour or two – consider going to the vet.
- If the eyelids are fully closed – go to the vet.
Is discharge coming from the eye? What colour is it?
- Clear watery discharge (tears) means the eye is irritated, and should be checked closely for other signs on this list.
- White discharge (like sleep) may be normal, but can increase in amount if the eye is irritated from something.
- Greenish, yellow discharge can mean infection, or more severe irritation such as dirt in the eye (does your dog dig in the garden?) or a foreign body…….the eye should be monitored very closely, and consider going to the vet.
- Reddish – go to the vet!
Is the puppy rubbing at the eye?
- If the puppy is frequently rubbing at the eye – go to the vet as soon as possible – as it is painful or very irritated by something, and the rubbing will make the damage worse.
Are the whites of his/her eye red?
- This is a non-specific sign of eye irritation, and is worth noting as part of the whole examination.
- Dogs that dig a lot, or dogs that ride in the tray of utes/trucks, are prone to getting red eyes.
Is the cornea turning white/bluish? (the cornea is the clear part of the eye, that you look through to see the pupil).
- YES – Go to the vet immediately – this is an EMERGENCY, and there is a risk the dog could lose vision or lose the eye if not treated quickly.
Are both eyes affected, or just one eye?
- If both eyes are affected, there is a possibility that the dog may have been exposed to some sort of toxin, or in some countries been bitten by something like fire ants. Go through the check list above, and seriously consider going to the vet.
Is there any swelling of the skin around the eye, or below the eye?
- Sometimes the problem is not the eyeball, but the skin around the eye. Check for ticks in the eyelids, check for scratches (has he/she been playing with a cat?). The tooth root of the molar teeth sit just below the eye, so if there is a tooth root infection it can make the eye look swollen/painful.
- Get all of these things checked by the vet if they don’t resolve quickly (24-48 hours).
Going through the checklist with Nando’s eye:
- The left eye is partially closed – monitor closely
- There is a yellow/green discharge in the eyelashes (the photo was taken after I cleaned it gently with warm water on a tissue) – monitor closely
- He rubs at the eye very rarely (once per 3-4 hours)
- The whites of the eye (conjunctiva) are red – the eyeball is irritated
- The cornea is clear (there is no whiteness) – phew!
- Only one eye is affected.
I think Nando may have gotten something in his eye when he was running through some bushes, or perhaps while digging. We will watch him closely!