Chronic Eye Discharge

Many of our pets have ongoing watery eye discharge. Kady was no exception. At only three years old, this sweet-as-pie bulldog was constantly squinting and blinking away clear liquid from her left eye. Her mom began searching for solutions which eventually brought her to our hospital.

On exam, Kady’s left lower eyelid was rolled inwards. This is a common condition in breeds like bulldogs, called ‘entropion’. It causes the row of eyelashes on the rolled lid to scrape against the outer surface of the eye (the cornea). Kady’s mom also mentioned that Kady was constantly rubbing her face and appear itchy. Another concern was of her sometimes room clearing foul smelling flatulence. So what could we do to help Kady?

Kady’s condition was obviously painful and required therapy. The scratching of the eyelashes against the cornea was also putting her at risk for an ulcer, a serious consequence that if left untreated can lead to infection and permanent eye and sight damage. Surgical correction of the rolled eyelid was proposed. In addition to surgery, Dr. Herberts recommended that her owner switch Kady to a medical hypoallergenic food. Constant skin irritation and/or ‘bad gas’ can often be a sign of an underlying food allergy, something which bulldogs are prone to. If Kady’s immune system was already ramped up in response to a food allergy, this excess inflammatory reaction was likely also exacerbating the irritated skin around her rolled eyelid, causing her to rub her eye even more.

On Kady’s ‘big day’, Dr Herberts removed a small wedge of extra skin beneath her rolled eyelid and sutured the lid back to a more normal position. Kady’s diligent mom gave her a cocktail of post-operative eye medications just as instructed – all whilst being strict with her new hypoallergenic diet – and noticed immediate relief for Kady. No squinting, no discharge! After finishing her medications, Kady was still very comfortable with her ‘new’ eyelid. As a bonus she also started to smell better!

Kady’s story goes to show that any discharge, squinting, or eye-rubbing warrants a checkup. Chronic eye discharge is never ‘normal’, and there are a variety of reasons for why it can occur. Often it has to do with the conformation, or structure, of the face and eyes. For example, the duct through which lubricating ‘tears’ are supposed to drain in the corner of the eye can be malformed, causing spillover of tears onto facial fur. In Kady’s case, the problem was more severe. She had ‘entropion’, exacerbated by a probable food allergy. Regardless, we’re certain that Kady is thankful her mom took the time to investigate her eye discharge. And we’re sure pleased we had the opportunity to provide sweet Kady and her mom with some relief!


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