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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Eye Infection View In Dogs

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition




Condition Overview

You can make a good guess as to what is causing eye infections by looking to see if one or both eyes are infected.


Eye swelling, green or yellow discharge from the eye, and possibly squinting.

WARNING - Dogs who haven't been vaccinated against distemper are at risk of acquiring this life threatening viral infection that causes a white or yellow discharge from the eyes. Distemper is highly contagious. It usually occurs in puppies, but adult dogs are not immune. Apart from the discharge, dogs with distemper will lose their appetites, develop diarrhea and coughs, and possibly have seizures.


Injuries, foreign objects in the eye, and virus are the most common causes for eye infections.


Diagnosis is made by veterinary examination.


Eye infections are easy to treat, but they can cause blindness if they aren't treated quickly and correctly. See a veterinarian to moment you notice symptoms.

  1. Hold your pet steady - Eye infections are painful, and pets will struggle when you try to clean and treat them. This is a problem because holding them still, especially by the neck, increases pressure within the eye itself. In an eye that is infected, the additional pressure could damage its internal structures. Before treating the eye, you will want to ask someone for assistance to keep your pet still.

    The easiest way to hold a cat or small dog is to wrap him in a towel or pillowcase, leaving only his head exposed. After he is wrapped, you can steady him even more by holding his muzzle. If you are treating a larger dog, have him sit or lie between your legs with his back to your chest. Loop one arm around his chest (but never the neck) and hold his muzzle with your other hand.
  2. Wipe away discharge - Since eye infections are accompanied by a discharge, you will need to wash it off. Start by holding a warm, damp washcloth over the eye to loosen the crust. Once it has softened , you can wipe it away fairly easily. You may have to repeat the soaking several times to clean the area around the eyes thoroughly.
  3. Flush the eyes with sterile saline contact lens solution - Hols your pet's eye open with your thumb and fore finger and gently squirt the solution to bathe the surface of the eye. This will wash away debris as well as ease some pain. Solution made specifically for pets is also available, such as Opticlear Eys Wash.


There is no effective prevention for this condition.


Eye infections can take 2 weeks or longer clear up entirely. In the mean time, the eye will be irritated and sore. Washing the eye daily - both to remove crust and to rinse the surface of the eye - will reduce pain and help the infection heal more quickly. You can use distilled water, but saline solution is a better choice. Thoroughly dry the fur around the eyes after washing them.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

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