Chronic Runny Eyes
We have a three-year-old Pug whose eyes water a lot and sometimes become infected. Our veterinarian gives us eye drops which clear up the problem, but it keeps recurring. Why does this happen and what can we do to prevent it from recurring?
Tears are nature’s way of protecting the surface of the eye. A normal amount of tears moistens the eye and keeps the eye healthy.
Pugs and some other dog breeds such as the Pekingese are known to have large, protruding eyes and may be unable to close their eyes completely when they blink. Since blinking cleans the eye and distributes the tear film, the center of the eye may not stay moist and consequently becomes inflamed.
Further, in some dogs, when their eyes are resting in the open phase, the bottom eyelid will droop, exposing some of the conjunctiva and causing irritation. The inability to close the eye lids or blink completely can lead to excess tearing and infections which can develop into many types of cornea (surface) problems. These are serious conditions which may need surgery.
Less serious problems may include mild infections due to something as simple as running through pollen, dust or weeds in the yard or dust in the house. In these less severe cases, a pet will have watery eyes for a couple of days then return to normal. If bacteria enter the eye and cause an infection, the pet will need antibiotic eye drops.
If a mild problem stems from hair constantly brushing against the eye surface, sleeping over air conditioning ducts or similar conditions, a large amount of tears may be produced. Obviously the reason for the tearing needs to be corrected.
You should always try to find and correct the cause of excess tearing. Sometimes the cause cannot be found, or they may be multiple causes. Surgery may be indicated to correct a structural problem, such as inverted eyelashes rubbing on the cornea. Whether surgery is indicated or not, it is very important to clean the inside of each eye every day. The discharge, sometimes thick and discolored, must be removed frequently or it will irritate the skin and possibly cause bleeding when it is finally removed.
Almost every dog and cat will have a very slight amount of dried discharge at the inside of each eye. This needs to be removed on a regular basis. This discharge usually is due to the accumulation of debris from tear ducts and the surface of the eye and seems to occur during sleep. This is normal and the removal is part of routine care for pets.