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Red, swollen eye with worsening discharge in dog

by Jennifer Halverson Dorsey
(New York City, NY, USA)

Jade's eye 1

Jade's eye 1

Jade's eye 1
Jade's eye 2

Our dog has a red, swollen eye with discharge that has worsened since yesterday. It is only her right eye. Her left eyes appears wholly unaffected.

Our dog is an 8.5 year old, female, Doberman/Black German Shepard mix.

Today is Sunday about 1:30pm our time. Yesterday morning, Saturday at about 9:30am our time, I noticed what I thought was a particularly stringy "eye booger". I even teased her about it as I removed it.

The area under her eye may have been a little damp, but I attributed it to morning eye boogers...didn't seem like a big deal.

However, last night it appeared irritated (red, slightly swollen, watery discharge draining down the side of her face) and she was pawing at it a bit. She let me look in it with a desk lamp over her (doesn't seem to be light sensitive) and I pulled back her eyelids (carefully). I didn't see any foreign bodies, just redness and a tiny bit of whitish "gunk".

At this time I thought she may have just gotten something in it. I put 2 drops of "Similasan Dry Eye Relief" in her eye (a homeopathic eye drop that I have). She did not have much of a reaction at all to the eye drops -- that is, they did not seem to sting or hurt the eye. If anything, she seemed to have some relief.


In fact, she seemed eager to cooperate for another drop later (I only mention this because she doesn't generally act so cooperative with grooming, ear drops or the like)...so I interpreted that there must have been some relief...or at the very least, no pain associated with them.

I also put a warm wash cloth over her eye and she seemed to like that.

So, this morning (Sunday), her eye is more red, more swollen and with more discharge. The discharge running down her face is not completely clear anymore...it is more whitish and maybe has a little bit of a pale yellow tinge to it. She wants to scratch it sometimes...not constantly...and settles down quite a bit after having a warm wash cloth compressed on it. She sometimes rubs it on a pillow or the couch...but stops after a warm compress. I would read this as some relief from the compress.

Also, her appetite and spirits are good otherwise. She went to the park and acted normal...no aversion to light or activity. And there's been no change in her diet or routine, no close contact with anyone other than us (neither of us have any sign of infection) or other animals recently.

Again, only her right eye has been affected... her left eye appears normal.

Is this pink eye or something else? What can we do for it?

Comments for Red, swollen eye with worsening discharge in dog

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Sep 20, 2010
My Online Vet Response to Red, swollen eye with worsening discharge in dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman


Hi Jennifer,
Your photo of Jade did not show a view that included a close-up of her eye to visualize her pupil.

If her right pupil is constricted and smaller than the left one, I would diagnose uveitis, which is an inflammation of the iris of her eye.


The third eyelid is raised and appears swollen, which could indicate conjunctivitis. I am more concerned about a possible foreign body under the third eyelid, or an abscess of her upper right 4th Premolar/carnassial tooth. None of these conditions are easily cared for with home remedies.

A holistic veterinarian could take care of the problem, but you need to diagnose what the problem could be. With the photos you submitted I am not able to give you a diagnosis over the internet.

Please take Jade in for an appointment with a veterinarian, conventional or holistic.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

If you would like to submit additional pictures for my review (including a close-up of each eye to be able to see her pupils), please email them to adviceATorganic-pet-digestDOTcom.

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

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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

Jan 20, 2013
Helpful advice NEW
by: Star.

Thank u this was very helpful

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