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Eye problem for Cocker Spaniel

by Sara M.
(Las Vegas, NV, USA)

My dog, Lucy, has been experiencing eye problems for a little over a week now. Being a cocker spaniel, she is prone to them and has gone through this type of thing before. I usually just keep her eyes clean and make sure she doesn't scratch them and the problem usually clears up on it's own. This time it's worrying me a little more than normal.

Lucy is a 3 year old female cocker spaniel. She is on premium Iams dry and wet food and has been since she was a puppy. I feed her once at lunch time and once at dinner.

We live in a large home with a decent sized backyard that she is constantly roaming around. She has a doggie door so she is in and out as she pleases. I have noticed that she's been a bit lazier lately than normal. I'm not too sure if there is any correlation.

She started forming eye boogers and redness when I got home from vacation, which was about 2 weeks ago. I had a friend watching her who doesn't have any other pets so I didn't think much of it.

As time went on the eye boogers greatened, but that is normal when this sort of thing happens. It usually clears up in a couple weeks and everything is fine. Tonight I noticed that, what I believe is, her third eyelid in her left eye is extremely swollen.

I can tell that she doesn't want to open her left eye at all and when she does, it looks pretty painful. The got extremely worried just now when her third eyelid was covering almost half of her eyelid, then it slid down back into place as I massaged her head.

I haven't asked anyone for any advice yet. My first instinct was to call a vet, but no one is open right now, and to be honest, I usually feel taken advantage of when I go there anyway.

Please let me know if there is anything over the counter, or not, that I can do for her, and if there are any recommendations on preventing this problem to begin with. She is extremely susceptible to eye and ear infections so it gets to be a lot sometimes.

Thank you for all of your help.


Comments for Eye problem for Cocker Spaniel

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Jan 21, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Eye Problem for Cocker Spaniel
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Sara,
It sounds like Lucy has conjunctivitis in both eyes, with inflammation and 'folliculitis' in her third eyelid.

The third eyelid (the nictitating membrane) is the membrane you saw raise up to cover part of her eye. If this membrane, which contains a gland at the base of it, becomes inflamed and swollen it will raise up higher to cover part of the eye. This is not a serious condition, but it indicates that Lucy is not very healthy.

You also mentioned that she is prone to dog ear infections. As a breed with long, floppy ears, she can be more prone to getting a foxtail in her ear, or if she swims, getting water into her ears. With the long ear flaps hanging down to cover her ear canal opening, it tends to keep her ear canals moist. This leads to the chance for bacteria or yeast to develop, since the ear canals are dark, warm and humid, especially when the water gets into them.

In nature, all 'wild' dogs have upright ears, wolves, coyotes, fox, etc. So if moisture gets into the ear canal it will be able to evaporate out. Man has 'artificially' created all of the breeds with long floppy ears that hang down. So, it is humans that need to clean out and maintain a healthy ear canal, to prevent moisture from getting into their ears.

For Lucy's eyes, use saline (from your local Pharmacy) to rinse out, keep them clean and 'calm' down the inflammation - 3 times daily for the next 3 days.

Several homeopathic remedies are useful for red, inflamed eyes (Euphrasia, Apis mellifica, and Allium cepa). Based on Lucy's photo, she would need the Apis. You can purchase this at any health food store that carries homeopathic remedies. She would need 6c or 12c potency, and give her one pellet by mouth every 8 hours.

You should seek out the help of a holistic vet to improve her health through a good dog food diet, decrease in vaccinations and prescribing homeopathic remedies for her 'constitution'.

Also, take a look at our Dog Ear Cleaning Solution page.

Click here to find a holistic vet in your area.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: 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

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