Why does my dog have eye discharge, how do you clean it and what is the treatment?

Original Question: My dog who is a combo of Poodle and Jack Russell has sticky discharge on the fur at the corner of one eye and it’s hard to wipe it off with a wet cloth. - Beth

Why does my dog have eye discharge, how do you clean it and what is the treatment? Apr 25, 2018

Hi Beth,

Thanks for your question.

This is a common problem. I know you’re asking about how to clean this, but we also need to address the cause of it so it doesn’t return.

To clean it, you’re doing the right thing. I would recommend that you hold a damp cloth to the area for a few minutes to soften it, and then you’ll have to wipe it out of the hair which is difficult because it can become dry and scabbed. A gauze pad is made of a tougher material which could help pull it out. You can then try your best to cut some of the hair in the area so the discharge from the eye doesn’t get caught in it. You’ll need to be very careful to not traumatize the eye and keep in mind that our pets can fight and wiggle, so if you think there is a chance of damaging the eye, then leave this part to your veterinarian or the registered veterinary technicians at your local animal hospital.

Now, and most importantly, we need to determine why this is happening and treat it so it resolves and doesn’t return or worsen. Excessive discharge from the eye has many causes. The most common would be a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotic drops. You could consider buying an over the counter eye drop for people such as Polysporin and apply a drop in the eye 3-4 times a day. If it doesn’t immediately resolve or it returns rapidly, I would strongly recommend that you seek medical attention at your veterinary clinic right away. There are other reasons why an eye may discharge more than normal. For example, the eyelid could be rubbing against the eye, the nasolacrimal duct where the tears drain may be blocked, a hair is directed into the eye and rubbing it, a more complicated viral infection is occurring, or other possibilities. These are issues that can seriously damage the eye if they are left untreated, so I strongly recommend you go for a consultation and physical examination with your regular veterinarian.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.

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