When to Contact a Vet for Eye Discharge in Dogs

Dogs are beloved family members, and it can be disheartening to see them suffer from any health issues. Unfortunately, eye discharge is one of the most common problems pet owners may encounter with their furry friends. While some eye discharge is normal, there are certain instances when pet owners should contact a veterinarian. This article will address the various causes of eye discharge, when to contact a veterinarian, and available treatments.

Identifying Eye Discharge

Eye discharge is the presence of any fluid coming out of the eye. It can range from clear to yellowish or greenish and can vary in consistency from watery to thick and mucus-like. In some cases, the discharge may also have a foul odor. Eye discharge is not always a cause for concern, but it can indicate an underlying condition that may require medical treatment.

Common Causes of Eye Discharge 

There are a variety of causes for eye discharge in dogs, some of which are more serious than others. 

Allergic Reactions: Allergens such as pollen, dust, or smoke can cause the eyes to become irritated and produce an excessive amount of tears. This can lead to an accumulation of mucus, which can then cause eye discharge. 

Eye Infections: Bacterial or viral eye infections can cause a thick, discolored eye discharge, redness, and swelling. 

Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis, a malady colloquially termed “pink eye”, is an irritation of the conjunctiva, the delicate membrane layer that envelops the white part of the eyeball. This inflammation is typically triggered by allergens yet may also arise from microorganisms, viruses, or extraneous items stuck in the eye.

Dry Eye: Dry eye occurs when there is not enough tear production to keep the eye lubricated. This can lead to an accumulation of mucus, which can then cause eye discharge. 

Entropion: Entropion is a rare medical condition in which the eyelids involute, causing the eyelashes to irritate the cornea. This can result in inflammation, ocular discomfort, and the production of a viscous, discolored exudate.

When to Contact a Vet

If your canine is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible: 

• Eye discharge that is thick and discolored (yellow, green, or white) 

• Eye discharge that has a foul odor 

• Redness and swelling of the eye 

• Excessive squinting or blinking 

• Pawing at the eye 

• Discomfort or pain around the eye 

• Loss of vision 

Diagnosing the Cause of Eye Discharge

Once you have contacted a veterinarian, they will likely perform a physical examination and laboratory tests to determine the cause of your dog’s eye discharge. Depending on the results of these tests, they may also perform imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasounds. 

Treatment Options

The treatment for eye discharge will depend on the underlying cause. The most common treatments include: 

• Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed if a bacterial infection causes eye discharge. 

• Anti-inflammatory Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed if an allergic reaction or inflammation causes eye discharge. 

• Artificial Tears: If the eye discharge is caused by dry eye, artificial tears may be prescribed to help keep the eyes lubricated. 

• Surgery: If the eye discharge is caused by entropion, surgery may be necessary to correct the condition. 


Eye discharge is common in dogs but is not always a cause for concern. However, it is important for pet owners to be aware of the various causes of eye discharge and when to contact a veterinarian for treatment. If your pup is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Written by Zestful Admin

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