Three steps to treat eye discharge without antibiotics
Eye discharge is one of the most common problems in dogs. Whenever I see my clients with concerns about their dog's or cat's eyes, the first question I ask is what they’re concerned about the most. Most people reply that they’re concerned about infection and that made me realize I need to write a blog to clarify some misconceptions.
First, I’m not planning to rediscover the universe here, neither am I eager to make things more complex. What I would like to do today is to bring more clarity to what you may call conjunctivitis, eye discharge, redness or an eye infection.
The anatomy of an eyeMost of the problem conditions that are seen in daily practice relate to the conjunctiva, eyelids and cornea. Conjunctiva is the layer of tissue on the inside of the eyelids that connects directly to the cornea, the clear layer covering the eye.
The inner structures of the eye are a little more complex. The sequence of the parts of the eye are as follows: cornea, anterior chamber (the space in front of the lens), the iris, the lens that is attached to the eye by a very sophisticated focusing system, called an iridocorneal muscle, then there is the posterior chamber, filled with a clear translucent mass, called vitreous body and beyond is the retina, the canvas of the eye that is connected to the optic nerve conducting the visual images to the brain’s visual center and the cortex.
The functions of the eyeMost people see the eye as an organ of vision but, there is another important function – cleansing. In fact, many openings of the body, including the eye, serve as cleansing and detoxification areas. If the body needs to get rid of impurities it does it really well through the eyes, ears, feces, urine, lungs and saliva.
This cleansing process is usually manifested by increased local inflammation and redness that is often misperceived as an infection. Most of the cases my clients consider an eye infection are actually cleansing reactions of the body and have nothing to do with bacteria and infections.
This fact is often ignored and the most common conventional prescription for eye redness is, you guessed right, antibiotics and steroids. It may also surprise you that for the majority of cases this medication is unnecessary or even contraindicated.
The most common conditions of the outside structures of the eye are:
- Conjunctivitis due to a cleansing reaction, as a detoxification process. The body is simply trying to get rid of toxins, components of food, especially if you feed processed food that is not species-appropriate or poor quality.
- Redness can also occur in the case of digestive imbalances, external irritants and as part of vaccination side effects, which are usually manifested by typical greenish pus-like discharge.
- Obstruction of the tear ducts that start at the upper and lower eyelid at the inner corner of the eye is also a very common problem and the causes can sometimes be from a little speck of plant material.
- Trauma to the cornea, which can result in an abrasion or even corneal ulcer is also relatively common.
- Inverted or extroverted eyelids, called entropion or ectropion are common, especially in breeds that have suffered the consequences of poor breeding focused on looks. Silly, but true.
- Infections can also be the result of eye irritation and conjunctivitis, but in my opinion true bacterial and viral eye infections are present only in a small fraction of dogs that present with eye irritation, discharge and inflammation.
Conditions of the infrastructures of the eye
Conditions that affect the infrastructure of the eye are not necessarily the main topic of this article, however, I would like to mention them briefly because they often resemble conjunctivitis.
- One of the most common problems that is overlooked is glaucoma, which is a condition where the intraocular pressure increases and threatens the eye and the vision itself. Glaucoma is usually painful and the redness of the eye is more deep and diffused. A proper diagnosis can only be obtained by a thorough examination and the intraocular blood-pressure measurement. This condition can be eye threatening and needs immediate attention.
- Some people mistake cataracts with glaucoma, which is a condition that affects the texture and transparency of the lens. Many of my readers often wonder if Skai is wearing his dog goggles – “Doggles” just for fun or fashion and I can’t emphasize enough that he wears them mainly to protect his eyes from UV damage.
Back to eye discharges
I could go on forever listing the different conditions here. However, the main purpose of this article is to talk about the 90 percent of all eye conditions, which is simple conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjuctiva) and varied eye discharges.
What needs to be done first, before we jump to the conclusion of conjunctivitis, is a thorough examination. I don’t recommend taking chances so I always perform an eye exam personally or have it done by another practitioner if I’m providing advice via a long-distance consultation.
A routine eye exam includes ophthalmoscopy, which is a term for light examination of the structures of the eye, a fluorescein dye test, which rules out any scratches, ulcers or obstruction of the cornea and intraocular pressure measurement to rule out glaucoma if your pet is in obvious discomfort.
If these tests come out negative, you can use a very simple treatment that will not cost you a lot of money, neither will you need to be using antibiotics or steroid medications, which are commonly overused. If you do feel pressure from your veterinarian to use antibiotics, remember you are in charge of the decision and any vet should be giving you recommendations only, not make you feel guilty because your decision is different than what he or she would choose.
Beware of a collar that is too tight
I mentioned before that most cases of redness could be related to the cleansing processes. I will repeat once again that the most common causes are from diet, vaccines, imbalances, digestive tract problems, toxin buildup and the effect of a collar that is too tight.
Yes, believe it or not, a collar that is too tight can be a reason for your dog’s eyes to be congested, full of discharge and red. All you need to do to is to grip your neck and tighten your hands around it as if you were trying to strangle yourself. You will feel the blood stagnation in the head, which will decrease drainage of conjunctiva and can cause discharges. Sometimes all we need to do is loosen our dog’s collar so it doesn’t obstruct the cervical veins that drain blood from the head. Many dogs suffer because of human ignorance. I put choke chains, prong collars or even shock collars on the same level as medieval torture devices that should only be used for demonstration on those people who put them on their dogs. Harnesses are the way to go.
Holistic approach to treatment of eye discharges
In several of my blogs I have mentioned that healing should be ideally simple. If you see discharges, especially in puppies most of the time means some sort of form of cleansing unless your veterinarian discovers a scratch, corneal ulcer, inverted eyelashes, hair falling in the eyes because it is too long, obstructed tear ducts and other conditions mentioned above.
Most of the time, you can follow these three simple steps:
- Rule out a serious eye condition by getting an exam done.
- Detox, cleanse and neutralize whatever doesn’t belong in the body naturally.
- Rebalance and provide what is missing as high-quality nutrients, natural vitamins or minerals.
Diet deserves special attention
Many people believe that if a bag of processed food is labeled organic or natural it must be good. That isn't true because even mainstream pet food companies jumped on the bandwagon of natural foods, while the quality and nutritional value of such food are poor. A quality raw or cooked diet is the best you can do for your animal friend. A healthy digestive tract, liver and immune system are the key to reducing eye discharges.
My favorite cleansing formula for most dogs is Livton.
Rinsing and flushingAnother important part of the cleansing process is helping the body get rid of impurities and toxins through flushing and rinsing the eyes. In fact, you do not need fancy solutions, ointments or even complex herbal preparations for the eyes. What works really well is a sterile saline solution with about five drops of Eyebright (Euphrasia tincture) and about three drops of goldenseal (hydrastis) per a cup of saline solution.
Reduce or eliminate vaccination and its side effectsEspecially in young dogs, I recommend minimum vaccination.
If your dog has been vaccinated, it is possible that the greenish discharge is in fact related to vaccine side effects. I’ve had countless cases where health issues completely disappeared after administration of Thuja 200 C. This homeopathic remedy is known to neutralize the side effects of vaccines and I usually give two doses 12 hours apart.
If these simple steps do not resolve the problem I highly recommend you see your veterinarian.
No matter what you do, try not to suppress the immune system with steroids because they have a long-term negative effect on the immune system and the body on a deep level. Using corticosteroids can be compared to removing the light bulbs from your car’s dashboard when your car's engine is overheating.
Provide high-quality supplements
Besides a wholesome and complete diet, I recommend providing your dog with what he or she needs with a good selection of high-quality supplements.
There is a huge difference between synthetically-made supplements and those that are grown and designed by nature. Did you know that most of the vitamins on the market are made from chemicals? These supplements need to be replaced with natural ones in order to cleanse the body and stop eye discharges.
Here are the supplements that my dog Skai gets:
Essentials for your dog
No matter if you feed organic or non-organic veggies, nutrients, especially mineral depletion is highly likely without all-natural supplements. Eye discharges may in many cases be a sign of deficiency or the presence of toxic heavy metals Here is what you can do:
- Supplement all-natural, plant-based minerals such as GreenMin.
- Add all-natural, certified organic multi-vitamins such as SoulFood.
- Use GutSense to balance your dog's digestive tract.
- Mercury and toxin-free omega oils.
Find out what is your dog missing
Find out your dog's mineral and heavy metal levels by getting a HairQ test done.
SummaryI can’t emphasize enough that many medical conditions are not what they appear to be. It is definitely that way in many eye conditions labeled eye infections. All you need to do is to listen to the body, observe its patterns and act according to the natural principles of healing which are:
- Detox with Livton cleanse.
- Learn how to feed an all-natural diet.
- Provide GreenMin, SoulFood, FeelGood Omega oil and GutSense.
- Rebalance the body using a front-clip harness and take your dog for regular visits with a chiropractor.
You will be surprised how many dogs’ eye discharges get better just with taking these above steps.
Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM