If as a pet owner you have noticed some deterioration in your pets eyes, or in their vision take a closer look. If you detect an eyelid infection you must take immediate action. Here is a list of the key symptoms to look out for and the treatments your vet might recommend.
Symptoms and Treatments of an Eyelid Infection in Cats and Dogs
Swollen eyelids can be a common and recurring problem for your pet that can be caused by an eyelid infection. Eyelid infection is a condition that can affect the skin and adjoining area around the eyes of your pet. The infection can also result in a secondary swelling of the inner eyelid. Immediate diagnosis and treatment are essential, or it might lead to severe problems.
While humans have two eyelids, cats and dogs have a third eyelid. The third eyelid is not visible and stays hidden in the inner corner of the eye. Eyelid infections can be a result of many factors. Some pets might have it since birth, while other infections can be due to the presence of bacteria, viruses, or injuries. Eyelid infection often comes with one or more of these symptoms.
Key symptoms of pet eye infections
Changes in the Skin Surrounding the Eye
You may find changes in the appearance of the skin near your pet’s eyes. Eyelid infections often cause the surrounding skin to become scaly or flaky. There could be redness or swelling of the skin, which will cause discomfort to your pet. Sometimes eyelid infection can also result in fits of blinking or squinting. This phenomenon is called blepharospasm. These symptoms are consistent with most cases of eyelid infection.
Itching of the Eyelid
The scaly or flaky skin will result in itching of the eyelids. You might notice that your pet is pawing or scratching its eyes. In some cases, the scratching can be rigorous, which can result in secondary problems. Your pet can also cause damage to its eye while scratching at the infected eyelid.
Eyelid infections often result in discharges from the eye. The discharges can be of different types or forms, which can be an indication of the cause of infection. A clear watery discharge is indicative of a viral infection. If the discharge is cloudy or yellowish in appearance, it can be due to dry eye disease. A bacterial infection is the most common cause, which results in a discharge that looks like mucus. The discharge will be thick and have a yellowish-green color that makes it look like pus.
The affected eyelid will appear swollen. The swelling can be on the outer, inner, or both walls of the eyelid. Swelling is medically referred to as edema, which means there is a build-up of bodily fluids under the surface of the skin. The swelling can be minor and cause little discomfort to your pet. But in severe cases, it can interfere with your pet’s vision and becomes painful.
Excoriation of the Skin
As mentioned before, eyelid infection can cause itching, and your pet might scratch at it. Unfortunately, it does not realize that it might be making things worse. Your pet can scrape off its skin while scratching, which can result in secondary infections.
Conjunctivitis, Pustules and Papules
Eyelid infection might be a result of conjunctivitis, pustules, or papules. Pustules are pus-filled lesions that form on the eyelid. Papules are similar to pustules but do not contain pus.
Main Treatments for Pet Eye Infections
The treatment will vary according to the diagnosis of the problem. The vet may prescribe a combination of treatments.
If the eyelid infection is bacterial, your vet may prescribe an antibiotic ointment, such as Neomycin Polymyxin Dexamethasone eye ointment for eyelid infections in pets. Neomycin and Polymyxin are effective antibiotics that can reduce the symptoms of bacterial infection in the eye or the eyelid. Polymyxin is the bacteriacide, while Neomycin reduces the spread of the infection. Other than antibiotics, the ointment also contains dexamethasone, which can reduce the inflammation and pain of the infected eyelid. The ointment needs to get applied at an interval of eight or twelve hours. The frequency will depend on the severity of the infection.
Elizabethan Collar or Cone
The vet may prescribe an Elizabethan collar or cone for your pet to prevent it from scratching it. In mild cases, the collar might be enough to cure the infection.
Sometimes the eyelid infection can be a result of dietary allergies. If the veterinary doctor detects food allergies, he or she might ask you to modify your pet’s diet. Your pet might be allergic to certain ingredients in processed food that are causing the infection in the eyelid.
In extreme cases, your vet might need to perform surgery to remove the cause of the infection. Surgery is often the only solution if your dog is suffering from a cherry eye.
Eyelid infections are easily curable if they get diagnosed at the right time. If you notice any symptoms of eyelid infection, take your pet to a vet immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.