Sties and Chalazions
Cats almost never develop sties, but dogs do because they commonly suffer from blepharitis. The inflamed tissue from blepharitis is hairless, itchy, red, or scaly. The eyelid contains hair follicles and meibomian glands.
Infection in either a hair follicle or a meibomian gland produces a sty (a pimple or abscess that forms in either the upper or lower eyelid, also called a chalazion). Chalazions tend to occur in older dogs. They remain relatively static and only require treatment if they are getting larger.
The plugging of a meibomian gland is the cause of this condition. A sty can develop as a result of blepharitis, or the sty can even cause blepharitis.
Diagnosis is made by physical examination.
Sties are not dangerous by themselves, but they are uncomfortable and dogs may scratch and injure their eyes when they paw at the area. A dog with a sty should be placed on oral and topical antibiotics. To remove adherent crusts, use a washcloth soaked in warm water as a daily compress over the eyelids. Apply a topical ophthalmic ointment or solution containing neomycin, bacitracin, or polymyxin B. Your vet may prescribe an ophthalmic ointment that contains corticosteroids.
If the sty does not rupture on its own, your vet may puncture it with a sterile needle or a scalpel.
Chalazions are removed surgically. Do not squeeze the chalazion in an attempt to express its contents. If the chalazion ruptures into the eyelid, the oily contents set up a severe inflammatory reaction that is very difficult to treat.
There is no known prevention for this condition.
Continue to use hot, wet compresses several times a day, and the sty should open up, drain, and go away within 2 - 3 days. If it doesn't, it may not be a sty and could need medical attention.
Is it a good idea to apply over the counter antibiotic drops or ointments made specifically for the eyes to reduce the chance of infection. TO apply eye medication, tilt your pet's head up, gently pull down the lower eyelid, and drip the medicine into the cupped tissue. Your pet's blinking will spread the medicine naturally.
A sty will not usually need any treatment beyond hot compresses, but some adult dogs develop a chronic sty condition that is hard to clear up. In addition to oral antibiotics and hot compresses, your veterinarian may prescribe cortisone medication.
In stubborn sty cases, your veterinarian may need to lance and open the infected gland with a sterile needle after sedating your pet. You will need to keep the area clean. Usually, all that is required is wiping away any discharge with a gauze pad dampened with sterile saline solution.
Show Sources & Contributors +
Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook
Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007
Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD
The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats
Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001
Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM