Is It Normal For My Pet To Have Eye Discharge? – Pet Health FAQs

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

Home » Blog » Is It Normal For My Pet To Have Eye Discharge? – Pet Health FAQs

Are you noticing your pet has eye discharge? Are you wondering, “is it normal for my pet to have eye discharge?” Well, the short answer is yes, and no. But this is not a satisfactory answer and can lead to more confusion than clarity. When it comes to eye discharge, there are a few things you need to be aware of to make sure it is just the normal and natural discharge that every animal produces.

In some circumstances, however, it could also be a pending health issue that requires immediate attention from our veterinarian. Let’s take a closer look at the different kinds of discharge and what you can do about it if it’s a cause for concern.

dog eye discharge

Flaky, Dry, or Crust Around Pet’s Eyes

Tears are one of the ways that the body keeps the eye healthy, oxygenated, free of environmental debris, and sheds natural biological outputs (like old, dead cells). When a tear duct drains into the eye, it can accumulate this debris and deposit it in the corner of the eye during periods of sleep.

You may notice some dry crusty discharge accumulating that simply requires a warm damp cloth to remove. This is an entirely natural discharge and is not cause for alarm – just like the “sleepy” in your eyes after waking. If this discharge is not paired with excessive rubbing, sensitivity to light, or red eyes, everything is as it should be. If there are signs of discomfort, let our vet have a look to see if anything requires immediate attention.

Watery, Clear Fluid From Pet’s Eye

There are various conditions, some potentially serious, that can cause excessive eye watering. From skin allergies and blocked tear ducts to eye wounds and glaucoma, the various conditions that cause excessive eye watering (epiphora) are many.

In many cases, your pet may have simply come into contact with an eye irritant like dust or pollen that can be itchy and their body is just doing its job of cleansing itself. If this issue persists any longer than a day or two and looks as though irritation is imminent, reach out to your vet to have your pet’s eyes further inspected.

Brown Tear Tracks

If you have a light colored pet, you’ve probably seen the brown build-up under the eyes. This is caused by porphyrin, a natural substance in tears. Unless there are other issues in the eye, this staining is completely normal and is only a cosmetic concern, if at all. Try keeping the fur in this area clipped short and regularly wipe clean with a damp cloth. Again, if there are any signs of pain or redness in the eyes, make a point of looking into the situation more deeply with our veterinarian.

Yellowish-Green and Slimy

Just like in people, eye infections can flare up in pets on occasion for various reasons. It could be caused by other complications like dry eyes, wounds, dental issues, and more. This can be a serious problem and needs to be looked at immediately by our veterinarian. It could also be a sign of a systemic issue that requires professional attention.

Greyish-White Mucus

There are occasions in which a pet’s immune system is compromised and causes the body to attack the tear glands. When this happens, the eye can no longer produce enough lubrication causing a condition commonly referred to as dry eye.

The result of tear ducts no longer providing enough lubrication, the eye tries to compensate by producing mucus instead. The mucus can build up and discharge from the eye and is a serious sign of eye problems. This condition is medically known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) and is cause for immediate assistance from a veterinary professional.

When to Contact a Veterinarian?

As you can see, it is entirely normal under most conditions for your pet to have small amounts of eye discharge. In some circumstances, however, there may be cause for concern, and you may require immediate veterinary assistance to help quickly alleviate the issue before it gets any worse.

If you think your pet is experiencing eye problems, reach out today so we can have a closer look at what’s going on. Call Care Animal Hospital today at 951-676-4690 to learn more.