Red Eye in Dogs

Red Eye in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Redness / Swelling

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Rated as moderate conditon

57 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Redness / Swelling

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Red Eye in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Red Eye?

Redness and inflammation affecting one or both eyes can be due to a variety of issues ranging from mild allergies to glaucoma which can lead to blindness. Redness may or may not be accompanied by discharge or watery eyes. It may involve the surface of the eye, ruptured blood vessels within the eye, or an inflamed eyelid among other causes. It is important to make a visit to the veterinarian if you notice redness of the eye persisting for longer than 24 hours. There are many different causes of red eyes in dogs and can be as simple as allergies or more serious such as glaucoma. There are cases of disease elsewhere in the body that can lead to inflammation of the eye. If you notice redness for more than 24 hours, there are several tests that can be completed by a veterinarian to try to diagnosis the issue with the eye.

Symptoms of Red Eye in Dogs

In addition to redness of the eye, symptoms that may also be noted include:

  • Pawing at or rubbing eye on floor
  • Squinting in light
  • Keeping eye closed
  • Cloudy cornea (surface of the eye)
  • Watery tearing eyes
  • Red mass appearing from under the eyelid
  • Red spot on the white of the eye
  • Swelling or puffiness of the eyelids
  • White or green discharge from inner corner of the eye

Causes of Red Eye in Dogs

  • Allergies

    – Irritation of the eye due to an allergen such as pollen, weeds, dust or fiber.

  • Conjunctivitis

    – Inflamed conjunctiva (the thin transparent tissue that covers the outer surface of the eye) due to irritants, allergies or infection.

  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)

    – Also known as dry-eye syndrome. Redness is due to inadequate tear production.

  • Entropion

    – The eyelid turns inward causing the eyelashes and eyelid to rub against the eye’s surface.

  • Cherry eye

    – A gland inside the third eyelid becomes inflamed and protrudes out from behind the eyelid. Appears as a small red bump poking out from below the eye.

  • Hyphema

    – Injury to the eye causes blood to pool in the front part of the eye.

  • Foreign body

    – Material or small particle trapped in the eyelid or on the eye surface irritates the eye.

  • Corneal ulcer

    – An open sore on the outer layer of the cornea, often caused by infection.

  • Glaucoma

    – Increased pressure within the eye.

  • Uveitis

    – Inflammation of the iris or ciliary body caused by injury, infection or cancer.

  • Blepharitis

    – Inflammation of the eyelid due to infection, irritation or allergy.

  • Tumor

    – Benign or malignant mass growing behind or within the eye.

Diagnosis of Red Eye in Dogs

If you notice redness in one or both eyes of your pet, you should visit your veterinarian to obtain a proper diagnosis. The most common causes of red eye are conjunctivitis, allergies, or irritants, however more serious possibilities exist so it is important to have your pet examined. The veterinarian will take a history of the pet to discover when the redness began, the progression of the redness, and any behaviors your pet is demonstrating that indicate pain or irritation.

Ophthalmologic Exam

In cases involving the eye, the veterinarian will conduct a full ophthalmologic exam. This exam evaluates the various structures of the eye including the conjunctiva, cornea, tear ducts, retina and eyelids.

Schirmer Tear Test

A Schirmer tear test examines your pet’s tear production and helps rule out KCS or dry-eye syndrome. This test involves placing a small paper test strip in between the eyelid and the eye. The strip acts as an irritant, causing tear production. The tears are absorbed into the paper strips and a scale on the paper measures the level of tear production.

Tonometry

Tonometry incorporated the use of a device to measure the internal pressure of the eye. This test is often used to screen for glaucoma, a disease associated with abnormal eye globe pressure. The surface of the eye may be numbed prior to this test, though it is not required. A tonometer pen uses a small plastic ball that bounces quickly on and off the surface of the eye and measures the pressure. Several measurements may be taken to obtain an average.

Fluorescein Dye

This yellow-green dye is dropped onto the eye surface. Areas of damage to the surface of the eye light up (fluoresce) when a black light is shone onto the eye. This dye can indicate scratches and corneal ulcers.

Blood Diagnostics

Several underlying issues may cause the appearance of red eyes. Blood screening can measure kidney function, liver function, hormone production, hydration and electrolyte imbalances.

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Treatment of Red Eye in Dogs

A variety of treatments may be applied depending on the diagnosis.

Topical Medications

Topical medications are available in ointments or drops and may need to be applied up to three times daily for a week or two until symptoms resolve. Medications include antibiotics, steroids, pain relievers, dilators and artificial tears.

Oral Medications

In case of infection or trauma to the eye, oral antibiotics may be prescribed. Anti-inflammatories may also be administered. If the cause of redness is associated with an underlying disease, the appropriate oral medication will be prescribed.

Surgery

Surgery may be required to address several causes of red eye. If cherry-eye is diagnosed, the veterinarian will normally try to manually reset the gland. If the gland reappears after treatment, surgery is often used to permanently repair the issue. Entropion problems can also require surgery to reform the eyelid so it does not rub on the cornea of the eye. In some cases, red eye is caused by an untreatable problem and may require surgical removal of the eye (enucleation surgery). This is a simple surgery and the pet often does not experience any adverse side effects besides loss of a degree of depth perception.

Recovery of Red Eye in Dogs

Correct application of drops or ointment and administration of oral medications is required to achieve proper healing. The pet may need to wear an Elizabethan collar (cone or e-collar) to prevent rubbing the eye.

Follow up appointments for eye examinations are often required weekly for a period to evaluate response to treatment.

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Red Eye Average Cost

From 52 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,500

Average Cost

$350

Red Eye Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Addie

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Boxer

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7 Years

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Moderate condition

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1 found helpful

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Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

None

My dog just developed a small bump on the white of her eye. It is in the corner of the eye and on the bottom. She seems fine, isn't rubbing eye. Eating, sleeping, playing as normal.

June 15, 2018

Addie's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are various different types of lumps and bumps which may appear on different parts of the eye and surrounding tissues, you should monitor the lump for the time being but visit your Veterinarian to determine the cause especially if it gets bigger, changes shape or colour. Your Veterinarian will be able to determine what it is from its location as different lumps originate from different parts of the eye. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 15, 2018

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Teddy

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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12 Years

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

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Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Bulging
Eye Clouding
Eye Redness
Eye

I noticed my dog, Teddy, had a red colour in his right eye - it looked like there was fire inside the eye and there was no appearance of the pupil in that eye when I took a photo with the flash on. Usually both pupils reflect like two torches when I take a photo of him with the flash on. But this time the right eye appeared as black in the photo, while the left one was normal. The white part of this right eye was only slightly red. I brought him to the vet. She prescribed Cosopt eye drops twice daily (for high pressure) although she had no way to measure the eye pressure - she prescribed the drops based on her observation that the eye was slightly bulging. She also prescribed oral antibiotics, one drop of atropine every 12 hours and two drops of maxitrol twice a day. After a week, his eye appeared to be doing a bit better. He had no redness at all in the white of the eye and very little in the eye itself. However, his lower eyelid was hanging down and loose and his third eye lid was starting to appear. This time the vet took him off the oral antibiotics and prescribed a steroid tablet twice a day for what she labelled the appearance of "Horner's syndrome", she took him off the atropine, but kept him on the Cosopt and Maxitrol eye drops. In the last week, there has been a big deterioration in his eye. His eye has completely clouded over and is a grey-bluish colour. There appears to be an ulcer on his cornea and his eye is very swollen (about twice the size of the other eye). The vet took him off the steroid and now he is on an antibiotic cream eye drop three times daily and the Cosopt for eye pressure. The "Horner's syndrome" did disappear after the steroids, but in general, the eye is now worse. The white of his eye is now all red, his eye is totally clouded over and still very swollen. All of his bloods came back clear. I'm concerned. What could be going on? The nearest veterinary opthamologist is about two hours away and it would not be possible to bring him there as I'd have no help and he over-heats a lot even on short car journeys (of about 5 minutes)

June 8, 2018

Teddy's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Without a thorough examination and checking the intraocular pressure we cannot say for certain that there is an increase in pressure (glaucoma); also if there is glaucoma it may be a primary or secondary condition. If it is a secondary condition, it is important to determine the primary cause so that may be treated as well. Without examining Teddy myself, I cannot give any advice (legally) on what changes to make regarding medication; but I would recommend visiting another Veterinarian (preferably one with a tonopen) in your area to confirm whether or not the initial diagnosis was correct and to address the other issues. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 8, 2018

Now after another visit to the vet, Teddy is back on antibiotics & he is on Cosopt three times a day & a stronger antibiotic eye drop three times a day. The ulcer on his eye is going all crusty & flaking off. His eye is very angry red now. Unfortunately, the nearest vet with a tonopen is 2 hrs away, so we have no way to see what is going on in the eye. I’m trying to hope for the best

June 11, 2018

Teddy's Owner

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Cookie

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American Foxhound Mix

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1 Year

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Red Circle

My dog has a red, small and almost unnoticeable dot in her left eye. However, I first saw this dot when I began to look at her face and noticed that she was squinting and not fully opened her eye. I then spray water in her eye just hoping it was a speck of dirt, the water temporarily "helped" her open her eye but after that it just went back to it's squinty state. A green eye booger substance does come out of her eye throughout the night, but it's off putting since it comes out of both eyes (however her right eye doesn't have any of the symptoms I've stated earlier apart from the eye booger substance). I previously took her to a vet in my area, and the vet provided a sort of cream for her eye, yet the red dot seemed to come back or not even heal at all.

June 4, 2018

Cookie's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Without seeing Cookies eye, I have a hard time commenting on what the dot ay be, but since she does seem uncomfortable, is squinting, and having discharge, it would be a good idea to have her rechecked by your veterinarian and let them know that the ointment did not help. Sometimes we use response to therapy as a clue to what might be going on, and they may be able to determine what is happening.

June 5, 2018

My dogs eye was red this morning and has had clear discharge all day, the white looks a bit swollen as well, I irrigated it with saline this morning and have been applying Vetropolycin ointment n giving her 12.5 benedryl as she has allergies as well, how long should I wait before bringing her into the vet

June 5, 2018

Patty M.

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Betty

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Terrier mix

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7 Months

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Mild condition

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1 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

3Rd Eyelids Are Red

My 7 month old Terrier mix puppy has red eyes. I took her to the vet and he said that he didn’t think she had an infection but rather that her 3rd eyelid was the color red. He said that the 3rd eyelid can be white, black, or red. Her eyes seem to be getting more red, but I do not see any other symptoms (no pus, swelling, itching, etc..) I’m concerned though, as I haven’t seen any information on the internet that talks about a red 3rd eyelid, except when there is infection.

June 2, 2018

Betty's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

A third eyelid may be a deep red colour due to infection, however other causes for it to be red may include allergies or inflammation; to be on the safe side you may apply an ophthalmic antibiotic ointment (Vetericyn) to the eyes to see if there is any improvement. But without a thorough examination I cannot say for certain. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/vetericyn-ophthalmic-pet-gel

June 2, 2018

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Jake

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Italian Greyhound

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11 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

My dogs eye started to swell and white of eye bloodshot now it also is red the brown part of his eye is red, I am afraid it is bleeding behind his eye. My vet took a reading and said his pressure in eye was 49 told me to take him to an ophthalmologist trying to find one that is not as expensive she wants $250. just to look at him unfortunately I can't afford it. Can you tell me what you think the problem might be, it also drips and I wash it each day with eye wash

May 26, 2018

Jake's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

A reading of 49mmHg (shouldn’t really be above 20mHg) is a very high reading and may be an indicator of glaucoma or another ophthalmic condition; unfortunately any specialist is not going to be as ‘cheap’ as your local general Veterinarian and a price of $250 is quite reasonable if I’m honest with you. You should visit the Ophthalmologist to get a better idea of the underlying cause of the increased intraocular pressure since this may be a primary or secondary condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 26, 2018

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Khylessi

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German Shepherd

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7 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Red Eyes

My shepherd is 7yrs old. For the last 2years she has had red eyes. It doesn't bother her only me. The vet has given her antibiotic cream and it hasn't worked. Can you suggest any thing that could help her, and my stress. Red

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Penny

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Yorkchi

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12 Years

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Cloudy Red Eyes

My dog is quite elderly and has issues with her eyes-well, eye, as she has microphthalmia in one-since we've had her. Her remaining eye is cloudy, has cataracts and a reddish tint to it. She had been diagnosed with dry eye and irritation, and was prescribed three different eye drops. Despite all these meds, her eye is still red and cloudy. Since she's an older dog this isn't all that shocking, and she doesn't seem to be in pain. However any tips to keep her nice and comfy are always appreciated.

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Mac

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Chihuahua

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13 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

My chihuahua was stung by a yellow jacket bee 3 weeks ago both of his eyes have turned red, swollen and now is blind and losing weight quickly, his heart rate is very fast all the time. He is 13 years old I can't afford a vet for help. Is there a program in Washington State to help with low income households to get him seen and treated. *m afraid he will die if I can't get him help

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Jax

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Golden Retriever

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11 Months

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Red Eye
Third Eyelid
Pink Surrounding Eye

My 11 month old golden retriever had a flare up with his eye 5 months ago after a very exciting snow walk (he was running the entire time and kept putting his face in the snow/eating it). Right when we got in the car, his eyes looked like he had a hard time opening them - it kind of looked like he was just very tired but the third eyelid was coming up and covering most of both eyes. I was very worried but my vet was closed so I let him sleep it off.... It seemed to go away that next morning and did not come back until the day he was neutered. After neutering, this came back and his third eyelid started to show almost every day while on the pain meds.... It doesn't seem to bother him much... Sometimes he would paw at it but most of the time he just looked very tired. 3 months later, the eye is acting up again and I took him into the vet. She prescribed an ointment for his eye since she thought it was an eye infection... It went away after treatment but now has come back randomly only on some days. I have kept track of the occurrences and it seems like whenever we go outside and play for long amounts of time, the eyelid will come up and show. It is weird though.... Only in some parts of town. When I play with him at my parents house, he is totally fine when he comes inside their house. What the heck is happening? I don't want to have to keep paying bills for the vet if they just keep giving eye infection ointment. Could this be happening because of allergies? Or something that I am using in my house (cleaning supplies/etc.?) We also have a lot of hair because golden retrievers shed A LOT... I did notice a hair in his eye when the third eyelid showed up a couple days ago so I tried to flush it out. Maybe this happens every time something gets in his eye? But it is odd that it showed when he was on the pain meds - every single day. I just would like to get this figured out so I feel safe bringing him out in the environment for play time.

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Thor

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Mild condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Itching
Red Eye
Green Discharge

My Pit has had a red eye with green discharge for two days. I've given him Benadryl and it'll clear up mostly for a while. What else can I give him. The red eye and discharge started after I gave him a bath and wiped his face with a wet washcloth

Red Eye Average Cost

From 52 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,500

Average Cost

$350

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