What’s Causing Your Dog’s Runny Eyes?
What’s Causing Your Dog’s Runny Eyes?
Do dogs cry?
Dogs, of course, can be sad, and can certainly appear sad. Lethargy, not eating, and even anxiety can be expressions of sadness or depression in dogs. And while whining in and of itself is not necessarily a display of sadness or crying, whining could signal anxiety, which can exemplify depression.
But to answer the opening question: the consensus by veterinarians and other professionals is no, dogs do not cry tears as humans do.
So why are your dog’s eyes always runny, as if they ARE crying?
Some type of eye discharge is common in dogs; mostly, this is normal and not a sign of anything wrong with Pharaoh. But what kinds of issues or potential diseases could cause consistent runny eyes? When should you think about getting Pharaoh’s eyes checked?
Let’s examine what it might mean when your pup’s eyes are runny.
Seeing Your Dog’s Eye Issues
Forget the goop or crust you might find at the inner corners of your dog’s eyes in the morning; these are the products of normal tear duct drainage and do not indicate any unusual problems. And reddish-brown discoloration on the fur near your light-colored dog’s eyes is also for the most part normal, a pigmentation reaction to normal tear drainage. Some specific breeds, like Pugs and Boxers, tend to have more clear eye discharge than other breeds.
But what of excessive eye-watering? Mucus discharge? Yellow- or green-colored discharge? What if your dog is blinking a lot or pawing at his or her eyes?
These might indicate bigger issues. Conjunctivitis, corneal inflammation, or uveitis, for instance, could all cause eye-watering and can be cleared up with drops and/or oral medications. Conjunctivitis could result from something as simple as a foreign body in the eye or more complicated, such as a bacterial infection, blocked tear duct, or viral infection.
Glaucoma, too, can result in watery eyes. This is a potentially serious problem that should be dealt with as soon as possible; irreversible issues could result if glaucoma advances into acute glaucoma and it is possible that your dog could lose his/her sight even with treatment in the acute stage.
Some issues are even more severe. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a condition in which an attack by the dog’s immune system results in damage to the glands that produce tears; this results in excessive mucus discharge, redness, and pain. Untreated, KCS could actually lead to blindness.
Blocked tear ducts, tumors, or structural abnormalities to the eye could all result in watery eyes. Medications and even surgery might be needed to address these types of issues.
It’s recommended that if you suspect a serious condition that is affecting Princess’s eyes, you take her to see a veterinary ophthalmologist and not your regular vet. These types of vets have been trained in the diagnosis and care of specific eye diseases and disorders that your regular veterinarian simply might not be as familiar with and could potentially overlook.
Diagnosing Your Dog’s Eye Problem: What to Expect
You might have seen your veterinarian shine a light into your pup’s eyes during a routine exam, but what might you expect when you take your doggie to a veterinary ophthalmologist?
Depending on the symptoms, of course, there are various tests used to determine the cause of your dog’s runny eyes. Besides a visual examination with a focal light and a vision test, veterinary ophthalmologists might use dilation, corneal staining, bacterial culture, intraocular pressure testing, and measurement of the eyes’ tear production (called a Schirmer tear test) to help arrive at a concrete diagnosis and subsequent treatment plan for your dog’s issue.
Eyelids, the tissues around the eyes, and even cranial nerves that affect the eyes could also be checked if the problem is believed to be structural or neural.
The proper test will surely lead to the right diagnosis and treatment plan that will lead your dog out of pain and discomfort and ridding him or her of that annoying eye discharge for good.
If you have a friend or family member whose dog is having eye issues, feel free to share this article on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media outlet to get them and others helpful information that can save their dog’s eyesight!
Written by Harrison Howe