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Even the smallest eye injury (a tiny scratch, for example) can develop into an infected wound and loss of vision. Never gamble with your dog's eyesight -- always seek immediate treatment, even for minor eye injuries.
If you see your dog squinting, avoiding bright lights, and excessively blinking, examine her eyes. Tear production is also a frequent sign of problems, as is watery, green, or yellow discharge. At worst, the eye may even be out of its socket.
Much like in humans, eye injuries often occur when a small object enters or becomes embedded in the eye. In addition, scratching or pawing of the cornea, abnormal growth of eyelashes, and inverting of the eyelids can lead to eye injuries.
1. If the eye is out of its socket, it should be treated as an emergency. Every minute is valuable if the dog’s sight is to be saved, so act quickly:
2. If your dog is blinking or squinting excessively and avoiding bright lights, there is likely something in his eye:
3. If the dog is squinting and tearing up excessively or has red eyes, it is usually indicative of a scratched eye. Check for foreign objects in the eye area. If nothing is found, follow these guidelines:
4. If the dog’s eyelids are bruised or torn (usually from a fight or other trauma):
5. If the dog's eye(s) has been exposed to chemicals, there may be burn damage:
6. If you see a watery discharge coming from the dog’s eye:
7. If you see green or yellow eye charge:
Eye injuries may be caused by fighting, infection, or accidents with chemicals or other harmful substances. Some breeds, such as the pug, are predisposed to eye problems.
Your vet will be able to tell you how to manage a dog with an injured eye. It is likely that damage-prevention measures (such as an Elizabethan collar) or some follow-up treatment will be needed, either at home or at the clinic.
There is little that can be done to avoid most causes of eye injuries, although obedience training, which limits the dog's propensity for fighting, helps. Extra care when using chemicals is also essential; if possible, keep your dog in a separate room when using bleach or similar fluids. For more advice on treatment and prevention, see the "Burns and Scalding" article.
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