Papillons are a tiny and precious dog breed. And they are almost as healthy as they are adorable. However, like every other dog breed, they have their own particular set of health challenges. Just as large dogs are more susceptible to bloat and hip dysplasia, these small dogs are susceptible to dog eye infection and other health problems related to their eyes. However, with knowledge to recognize the problems, you’ll set yourself up to protect your pet’s health by early action.
Papillons often fall victim to dog eye infection more readily than other breeds based on the shape of their skull and where their eyes sit within their skull. Their large eyes, one of the beautiful traits of the breed, rest further out on their skull than other breeds. This additional exposure to the environment means they attract allergens, bacteria and other irritants more readily. Checking, keeping fur and other items out of their eyes and wiping them for excessive tears are all great first steps to keeping their eyes healthy.
Recognizing an eye infection in your pet is similar to recognizing it in human beings, and many eye infections share the same types of symptoms. Signs of dog eye infection include redness around or in the animal’s eye, discolored eye discharge, and squinting. Usually these symptoms occur in one eye. If the symptoms occur in both eyes, it is more likely an allergic reaction.
Two common types of dog eye infection are uveitis and conjunctivitis. Uveitis is an infection or inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye, the part that includes the iris. This type of infection is caused by a bacteria, parasite or virus. Conjunctivitis, commonly known as canine Pink Eye, is when the eyelids and eye surface around the cornea are inflamed. Contrary to popular thought, pink eye is not just caused by fecal matter coming in contact with the eye. It can also be caused by allergens, dust or airborne bacteria.
If you notice these signs of infection in your pet, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to protect your dog’s health. Your vet will be able to test to see what type of canine eye infection it is and prescribe the appropriate treatment. You can expect your vet to conduct tests like examining the dog’s tear ducts to make sure they produce tears as they should and taking a bacterial swab from the infected eye.
If a bacterial infection is confirmed, there are several common antibiotics often prescribed and covered by pet insurance. Many antibiotics for dog eye infection come in the form of ointments or liquids to be directly applied to the eye or the area around it. Always ask your veterinarian about how to properly administer the medicine to your pet’s infected eye—often they’ll demonstrate in the office.
One of the common first steps in administering your dog’s liquid antibiotics is cleaning any discharge that may be around the eye. Hold our dog’s eyelids open using the thumb and forefinger of your non-dominant hand. Be careful not to get rough with your pet as they are already in pain and if they struggle against your hold, you may scratch or irritate their eye further. It’s best if you can hold their head with your palm with the eye open via your fingers. With your dominant hand, apply the antibiotic liquid onto your pet’s eyes but never let the eye dropper touch their eye. Allow your pet to blink and distribute the liquid throughout its eye.
If your pet is prescribed an ointment, rub the medication on its eyelids thoroughly until it’s absorbed. Don’t forget to give your pet a treat or a kind word for their patience and obedience.