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Eye care for our cats and dogs

Eye care for our cats and dogs

- Categories : Health

© Martine Lavallée, Technicienne en santé animale et BAA

As in humans, the eyes of our cats and dogs are fragile. These organs require punctual care, because often by playing outside or by rubbing them themselves, our animals can cover them with particles or injure them. Thus, simple irritations can become important lesions.

In addition, some breeds are more likely to develop eye problems and require more recurrent care. This is the case for brachycephalic breeds (flat muzzle and bulging eyes) and those with a pale coat.

Without going through all the existing ophthalmologic diseases, I will submit to you, in this chronicle, the basic care for our animals to have healthy eyes.

Anatomy of the cat's eye: photo adapted from MP Lab

The lacrimal system

 The eyes of our animals have tear-producing glands. These tears are lubricating, cleaning and protective. They mainly descend on the eyeball through the upper lacrimal duct and are then eliminated through the lower lacrimal duct. Tears are spread over the eye by the blinking of the eyelids. The production of tears and their uniform spreading over the cornea are therefore necessary for the health of the eye.

Besides lubricating the eye, tears have several other functions:

Helps remove foreign particles that may be on the ocular surface
Keep the cornea moist
Maintain good oxygenation of the cornea
Help fight potential bacterial infections

Sometimes this lacrimal system does not work properly. For example, when the ducts become blocked or when tear production is insufficient. In the first case, the tears will flow outside the eye leaving behind brownish marks. This phenomenon is more common in light-colored animals. Also, continuous eye care will prevent the obstruction of the tear ducts.

The brachycephalic breeds

In order to recognize what a brachycephalic is, here is a small list of cat and dog breeds in this category: Persians, British shorthair, exotic shorthair, scottish fold, himalayan and others; pug, pekinoi, Boston terrier, English and French bulldog, etc. 

These cats and dogs, with short muzzles, often have exorbated eyes so that they have curved and regularly blocked tear ducts. These obstructions force the tears to flow abnormally outside the eye until they accumulate debris that forms irritating crusts on the eyeball. We should therefore clean the eyes of our brachycephalic animals more frequently.

Products adapted to eye cleaning

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Products adapted to eye cleaning

The products used to clean the eyes of our pets must be specifically made for them. There is no question of using medications that have been prescribed by our family doctor. 

However, it is possible to buy small saline eye drops at the pharmacy, but this is the exception. These drops are used to moisten the dry eye when the lacrimal glands are not producing tears.

Personally, I use the eye care products made by Zanimo. They are easy to get and very effective. 

The first one: Eye Contour, quickly removes orange-brown hair under the eyes. Its softening formula with propolis gives the hair a glow. It facilitates cleaning and removes stains, crusty and dry hairs. The colloidal silver it contains has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is used to neutralize bad odors in the hair around the eyes. 

The second one: Eye Care, helps clean dried tears and soothes the discomfort of scratching. This refreshing and soothing recipe keeps the eye area healthy. It is non-irritating and restores the luster of under-eye hair. 

Cleanse or moisturize the eyes

Before cleaning our pet's eyes, we will start by washing our hands. We should also read the instructions for the eye products we will be using. Then, while comforting our pet, we will place one hand under its chin, lifting its head slightly backwards so that its nose rises towards the ceiling. We will spread the eyelid with our folded fingers pressed on the top of the eye (see picture on the right). To remove the soiled hairs in the corner of the eyes, the use of make-up removal pads soaked in cleansing liquid is recommended.

Photo gracieuseté Getty Images

The cleaning frequency

If we adopt our pet at a young age, the maintenance of the eyes should be done as soon as it is necessary in order to get him used to this care. The frequency varies from one individual to another and depends on several factors, including breed, conformation, lifestyle, environment, etc. First of all, I recommend checking our companion's eyes every day to find out if wet or dry dirt is accumulating. We should therefore clean the eyes every time we notice the appearance of secretions. 

Let's protect our pet's eyes

In order to avoid further damage to our pet's eyes, certain habits MUST BE AVOIDED, such as :

• Allowing hair to grow around our pet's eyes. These hairs interfere with good vision, rubbing against the retina and eventually irritating it. Consult a trusted groomer who can help you with this delicate task. 

• Let your pet's head out of the car window when driving.

• Put a fan or air conditioner in front of our pet's face. 

• Protect the eyes, especially of our dog, with protective glasses during high-risk activities; running in the forest, winter outings or skiing.

When to consult the veterinarian?

If our pet has an eye out of its orbit, it is an imminent emergency (less than 2 hours)! Moreover, we will consult our veterinarian quickly (less than 24 h - 48 h) when the eyes of our animal present :

- discomfort (the animal rubs its eyes on the ground or with its paws)
- redness,
- purulent discharge,
- watery eyes,
- opacities,
- closed eyelids,
- bleeding,
- swelling,
- inflammation.

In short, since our pets' eyes are a fragile organ, I recommend that you keep an eye on them and give them regular basic care so that they have healthy eyes. 

Sources :

  • Nettoyer les yeux de votre chien
  • Comment nettoyer les yeux de votre chat ?

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