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Golden Retriever Eye Problem

by Tim
(Evansville, IN, USA)

Two days ago I noticed some redness in my 13 year old golden retriever's right eye. Yesterday, I noticed that it was a little more red and the bottom eyelid had a slight droop to it.

Today, it doesn't seem to be any more red, but the bottom eyelid is definitely sagging down more, and the third eyelid or clear film seems to be coming up half way over her eye.

It is tough to see her right eye at all through this clear eyelid or film. She doesn't seem to be in any pain or really that much discomfort, but her mood does seem to be down.

Background: She has been quite healthy most of her life. However, two months ago she had lost a lot of weight and began getting dizzy and falling over at times. She wouldn't eat any of her food, but still loved her treats.

After a trip to the vet, she got a steroid injection and we switched her food. She also had blood work done, but everything tested out fine.

We started with canned dog food and slowly switched back to a different type of dry food. Her weight is back to where it was before and she has been fine and seemed back to normal for about 7 weeks.

This information may not be pertinent, but I included it just to be safe.

She is an indoor dog, and spends an average of less than 1 hour outside each day.

Comments for Golden Retriever Eye Problem

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Jan 30, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Golden Retriever Eye Problem
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Tim,
The condition your dog has is called Horner's Syndrome. It causes drooping of the eyelid, causes the eyeball to be sunken (making the third eyelid raise up), and causes the pupil to constrict.

It is caused by a disruption in the sympathetic nerve, usually the Vagus nerve. This nerve exits the brain and travels down the neck through the chest. Therefore, any compression or damage to the nerve can result in Horner's syndrome on the same side. It is interesting you noted a problem 2 months ago with dizziness and in-coordination. This was probably Senile Vestibular Syndrome, which occurs as a type of stroke in the balance center in the brain of older dogs. That may have been a precursor to this problem now.

For a diagnosis of where the problem lies, you should take your dog to a neurologist. I would be concerned about a possible canine tumor pushing on the nerve. Of course, seeking the help of a holistic vet may also help to treat the symptoms.

Horner's syndrome is not painful, but if your dog has a tumor (in the brain, neck or chest), any increase in pressure in these areas could certainly cause more problems.

Also, I would seriously consider a gradual change AWAY from dry dog food. See our page on the 10 Best Dog Food options and check out the RAW diets. This may be a bit expensive (compared to dry dog food), but it would be MUCH healthier for her!

And, DO NOT give her ANY dog vaccinations. You mentioned that she has been very healthy all of her long life (13 years old is a good age to attain for a large breed dog), but too frequent and too many vaccinations over that period of time can result in tumors and chronic illness.

See our page on alternative medicine for dogs, and scroll down to homeopathy.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area.

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: 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

Jun 17, 2013
Droopy eyelid
by: Mike Addorisio

Our 18 week old Golden Retriever/St Bernard mix started with the droopiness in both eyes a few days ago. We took him to the vet who gave eyedrops and told us to come back in 3 or 4 days if not cleared up. We began putting Frontline on him a day before his problem and was wondering if he may have got it on his bedding and then transferred it to his eyes. This seems like a possible cause and effect. Any ideas?

Jun 18, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Golden Retriever Eye Problem
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

June 18, 2013

Dear Mike,

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

Jul 04, 2014
Horner's Syndrome
by: Anonymous

This is an OMG! My 15 year old female Chesapeake(hubby's canine companion) has the look and symptoms to a tee. We have been to vet, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, yada yada (only a large bill). There is no discharge, just the redness and third eye showing. Rx Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories were an absolute failure. We do have other animals (farm). An OTC product (eye drops)name of Vetri-mycin for dogs, cats, horses and other animals is used for inflammation and infections of the eyes (even MRSA!. This product has been more effective than any other Rx veterinary med. I might mention that this dog also has Glaucoma (these symptoms are not an added manifestation from her glaucoma--per the vet; and there is nothing in her eye); she also has neuro issues from aging. We do everything we can to ease her comfort (has such heart, like an "Old Yeller") and she is not in pain. Thank you so much for this website.

Jul 07, 2015
OMG--- Vetrimycin NEW
by: Anonymous

thank you for your suggestion of Vetrimycin!

I am going to go out and buy it today!

Just noticed this eye problem this am....was wondering if she was stung by bee or something.......but she is thank you so much !!!.Lynn in Va Beach, Va

Jul 07, 2015
My Online Vet Response for: Golden Retriever Eye Problem NEW
by: Dr Carol Jean Tillman

July 7, 2016

Hi Lynn
The product mentioned, Vetrimycin, is NOT holistic. And, as far as I know is NOT an ophthalmic ointment, so it should not be used in the eye.

It will not help Horner's Syndrome which is a neurologic disease that causes drooping of the upper lid, raised 3rd eyelid, and construction of the pupil.

It would be best to take your dog to a veterinarian or, better yet, find a local holistic veterinarian to help.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Take care
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Jul 08, 2015
Thank you NEW
by: Lynn Va Beach

Thank you for your help

The previous entry did say the Vetrimycin was an eye drop?.......


I only found Vetericyn so far. She appears better today..........good nights sleep

She is 12 years to accept she is slowing down

Jul 08, 2015
My Online Vet Response for: Golden Retriever Eye Problem NEW
by: Dr Carol Jean Tillman

July 8, 2015

Dear Lynn,
The active ingredient in Vetrimycin is 'Hypochlorous acid'. I was aware this was used as an antiseptic for wound care.

When I did a further search, I was able to locate it in an ophthalmic form. The purpose is for treating infections. Horner's Syndrome is not an infection, it is a neurologic condition, causing specific symptoms in the eye. Therefore this product would not be effective, unless there were a secondary infection also present.

It is advertised as a 'natural' treatment since it contains no antibiotics. But it would be best to have a proper diagnosis of what is wrong with your dog's eye, and have an exam by a veterinarian.

Take care
Dr Carol Jean Tillman

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