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Bichon with eye irritation

by Dana Correia
(Lowell, MA, USA)



I noticed this morning that my dog Burt's eye appeared to be a bit irritated. I noticed it first thing this morning and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary last night before bed.


He is a 9 year old Bichon Frise (pure bred), neutered male. He has never had any eye issues since I've had him since he was 6 (I don't know of anything prior to that). The only thing he has had is the tear stains that Bichons have, but I've noticed it has gotten better with age. I discourage him putting his head out the window of the car when I'm driving. The only thing we did yesterday was go to the park for a walk where him and my other Bichon played with a couple of other small dogs. I didn't notice any of these symptoms in either of these dogs and my other Bichon is fine.

As you'll see in the picture, his left eye is big and bright, and the one on the right is like he's squinting. The only thing I've done as treatment was to gently push his fur back in case some fur in his eyes was causing irritation. That was earlier today, and it hasn't gotten any better. I figured I would wait to see if it would clear itself up, but it hasn't. It seems to have gotten worse tonight, which prompted me to make this submission. We went on a walk earlier this evening at the same park and he seemed okay, only squinting it a little bit. Also, this park is something we've gone to all spring, and last year as well, so it's not like there is some plant that grows there that is causing this. I should also note that he doesn't seem to be paying a lot of attention to it. Not scratching or pawing at it. He's just laying around sleeping, which he usually does.

There is only a little bit more tearing in the eye that's bothering him than his other one. And there is no large amount of discharge coming out of it (just a drop at the corner, but nothing major at all), his eye is a little more watery than the other side. You can see sitting on his lower eyelid is a little bit of fluid, but not so much that it's coming out onto his fur. I also noticed that the eye appears to be a little bit bloodshot on the inside corner. And he tends to hold it closed when I even go to take a picture of it (no flash) - see photo2. It almost seems like mild conjunctivitis.

I do have cats, but Burt leaves them alone and they keep to themselves unless provoked (and the other Bichon is the one who does that, not Burt).

Their diet consists of only high quality food. Nothing from China, and all USA high quality brands. They were on a raw diet (K9 Natural) until recently. I switched them over to non-raw because they're picky and get sick of the same thing. I had fed them Merrick cans in the past and the day before yesterday, got them started on Merrick Turducken kibble. They have never been on the Merrick dry food before, but have had the Turducken wet food many times with no problems. He has also never had any negative reaction to any food aside from gastroenteritis on a couple of occasions. But no eye or skin problems.

At this point, I'm looking for advice on how to treat this and what it could be. If he needs to go to the vet, I will do that without hesitation. But I figured I would try your service.

Thanks very much!

Comments for Bichon with eye irritation

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Jun 13, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Bichon with eye irritation
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Dana,
From the photos you took of Burt, the acute onset, and the description you have given, I am very suspicious that Burt has been scratched in the eye (corneal abrasion), or he may have something lodged behind his third eyelid.

You should take him in to your veterinarian for an exam of his eye, corneal stain, eye flush, exam of the third eyelid and conjunctiva.

Also, just a note, it would be healthier for both dogs to maintain them on the raw or canned food, and avoid DRY DOG FOOD. They will be much healthier.

You could also go to a holistic veterinarian, but I feel that the sooner you get him in to ANY veterinarian, the sooner he will be treated, and feel much more comfortable.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.





Jun 13, 2012
Thanks!
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the response, Dr. Tillman.

I did take him to the vet last night. As you indicated, it was a scratch on his cornea. They did the corneal stain and showed me where it was. They sent me home with Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfates and Bacitracin Zinc Ophthalmic Ointment to be applied twice a day, and a recheck in 7 days. This morning was MY first application, which he seemed to rub at a bit. Hopefully enough got in there to be effective.

As for the food - thank you very much for the advice! Fortunately, I only bought a small bag of the dry food to try it. I'm going back to the canned.

Jun 14, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Bichon with eye irritation
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Dana,
If he is rubbing his eye due to the ointment, you might call your veterinarian and see if 'drops' could be substituted. In many cases they do not bother their eyes with drops, as the 'texture' is closer to natural tears. Ointments tend to be thick, sticky, and uncomfortable.

Or just make him wear a 'cone' or Elizabethan collar, until his eye is healed so he cannot traumatize it when you put in the ointment. And DO NOT touch his eye with the tip of the applicator when you do put in the ointment. Let it drop down onto the surface of his cornea.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Eye Problems,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Eye Problems Section



Aug 10, 2012
What should I Do ?
by: Brianna

hi my dog has crust on the side of his eyes and its red but when i trim the hair around his eye lids it appears that he also has dry skin pealing witch leaves his eyes dark red what would be your best opion to do about this?

Aug 10, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Bichon with eye irritation
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Brianna,
Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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