Eye discharge is a common sign of eye disease. Abnormal discharge may develop suddenly or gradually. The discharge may be watery, mucoid (gray, ropy), mucopurulent (yellow-green, thickened) or bloody. In general, the more discharge present, the more serious the disease.

It is common for eye discharge to be associated with other symptoms such as pain, squinting, redness or rubbing at the eye.

There are numerous causes of eye discharge including a blocked tear duct, conjunctivitis, eyelid abnormalities, corneal ulcers, glaucoma, inflammation within the eye, trauma or dry eye.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Eye discharge is typically diagnosed through history and complete eye examination. The cause of the discharge generally requires further testing such as Schirmer tear test, fluorescein corneal staining, and measuring eye pressure.  Additional tests such as cytology (examining cells under a microscope), bacterial or fungal culture, bloodwork, head x-rays or even CT or MRI may also be recommended.
  • Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the discharge, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Treatment may include topical eye medication, oral medication such as antibiotics and/or steroids or even surgery. Discuss treatment details when your pet is evaluated and the underlying condition causing the eye discharge is diagnosed.


What to Watch for*:

  • Rubbing or scratching at eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Squinting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Continued eye discharge

* Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!