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Is an eye injury in my pet an emergency?

I have a simple answer on this one… if you think your pet has a sore eye – yes in most cases, you should treat it as an emergency.

You will need to get your vet to have a quick look as soon as possible, because even the smallest eye injury can quickly develop into a big problem… and could lead to loss of vision if not treated.

Signs your pet may have an eye injury

If your pet shows any of the following symptoms, it is worth getting your vet to examine him or her as soon as possible:

  • squinting
  • excessively blinking
  • trying to rub the eyes
  • watery eyes or tears
  • any green or yellow discharge
  • eye appears to be bulging
  • eye looks cloudy

Causes of eye injuries

Many pet eye injuries occur when small objects enter the eyes. Our pets run fast with undergrowth and bushes at eye level… which makes injury very common. And once these objects irritate your pet’s eye, your pet will often try to remove them by scratching or pawing at the eye causing further damage.

Sometimes an eye injury can be caused by a biological factor, such as an abnormal growth of eyelashes, or an inversion of the eyelids.

Occasionally, more severe injuries occur as a result of a fight with another animal, contact with chemicals, or a large object, such as a stick, entering the eye.

Dislocation or bulging of one or both eyeballs from a blow to the head is a relatively common problem in dogs with large, bulging eyes and shallow eye sockets, such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, Pekingese, Maltese, and some spaniels.

And finally, bulging eyes can also be caused by abscesses, hematomas, and tumours, which all can push your pet’s eye forward.

What can I do to help my pet?

Eye bulging, dislocated or out of its socket

Obviously, this is an emergency and you need to see a vet as quickly as possible.

But in the meantime, if the eye is already out of its socket don’t attempt to put it back in. Instead cover the affected eye with a clean damp cloth soaked in warm water and don’t take it off!

Keep the cloth moist by spraying water onto the bandage, but don’t take the bandage off to remoisten.

Exposure to chemicals

This is another emergency situation and you will need to see your vet urgently.

As soon as you have called your vet, start flushing the eye with fresh water and also check the label on the chemical container to see if any further treatment is recommended.

Remember to bring the chemical container or packaging with you so your vet knows exactly what chemical they are dealing with.

Blinking or squinting excessively or watery eyes

This usually indicates there is a foreign object irritating the eye.

Removing objects from the eye is a specialist skill so get your pet to a vet as soon as possible.

Green or yellow discharge from the eye

Discharge often indicates an infection if there is no foreign object found in your pet’s eye.

Try bathing your pet’s eye with warm water and see your vet as soon as possible.

What if I can’t get my pet to a vet?

If your pet has injured their eye and you can’t get your pet to a surgery, contact your mobile vet and we can come to you.

Try and keep your pet calm and still while you wait for your vet and make sure they don’t rub their eye with their paws and make the problem worse.

Any type of eye injury can lead to blindness in your pet, so it’s always worth getting your vet to take a look as soon as possible

If you have any questions about your pet’s eyes, just give us a call. We’re here to help.

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