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Unveiling The Truth About Dog Eye Stye

Written by: Dr. Athena Gaffud

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Time to read 5 min

Eyelid styes in canines, also known as hordeolum, can cause discomfort and may even affect their vision. But what exactly are these pesky bumps, and how can they be treated?

Dog eye styes, also known as hordeolums, are a relatively common condition that can cause significant discomfort and affect a dog's vision. These painful red bumps occur when oil glands in the eyelid become impacted and infected, similar to a pimple. 

While styes can occur in other species, their appearance in dogs is quite similar to those in humans, although their fur can make them more difficult to detect until they have become enlarged or are causing obvious discomfort. It's essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a stye and seek veterinary care when necessary to ensure that your furry friend receives the best possible treatment.

an owner covering her dog

Understanding the Causes of Dog Eye Styes

Canine eyelid styes can have various causes, and understanding them can help you prevent them in the future. One of the primary causes of eyelid styes in dogs is a bacterial infection. Staphylococcus bacteria are often the culprits behind these infections ( Barnette, C., 2024 ). These bacteria can easily find their way into the oil glands located on the eyelids, leading to blockage and the formation of styes.

Another common cause of canine eyelid styes is the blockage of oil glands. These glands, known as Meibomian glands, produce oils that keep the eyes lubricated and protect them from dirt and debris. When these glands become blocked, the accumulated oil can lead to the development of styes.

Certain factors can increase the risk of canine eyelid styes. Dogs with compromised immune systems, such as those with autoimmune disorders or undergoing chemotherapy, are more susceptible to developing styes. Additionally, breeds with prominent eyes, like Pugs and Bulldogs, may be prone to eyelid styes due to their unique anatomy.

Understanding the causes of these eye troubles is the first step in preventing them. By keeping your dog's eyes clean, ensuring their immune system is strong, and being mindful of their breed's predisposition, you can reduce the likelihood of eyelid styes.

Signs and Symptoms of Canine Eyelid Styes

1. Small, red bump on the eyelid 

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of canine eyelid styes is crucial in providing timely care for your furry friend. While the appearance of a small, red bump on the eyelid is the most obvious sign ( The Village Vets, 2024 ), there are other telltale symptoms to watch out for..

2. Eyelid swelling

One common symptom of eyelid styes in dogs is eyelid swelling. The affected eyelid may appear puffy and red, indicating inflammation. 

Your dog may also experience discomfort or pain when you touch the area around the stye.

A dog with eye infection

3. Discharge from the affected eye

Another symptom to be aware of is discharge from the affected eye. The stye can cause the eye to produce excessive tears, resulting in watery discharge. In some cases, the discharge may be thick and pus-like, indicating an infection.

How to Diagnose Canine Eyelid Styes

a vet examining a dog

While you may suspect that your dog has an eyelid stye based on its appearance and symptoms, a proper diagnosis is essential to rule out other underlying conditions and determine the best course of treatment.

When you visit the veterinarian, they will thoroughly examine your dog's eyes. This may involve using specialized equipment to examine the stye more closely.

The vet may also ask you questions about your dog's medical history and any recent changes in their environment or routine.

In some cases, the vet may need to take a sample of the discharge for further analysis. This can help identify the specific bacteria causing the infection and guide the choice of appropriate antibiotics, if necessary.

Remember, it's always best to consult with a professional when it comes to your dog's health. They have the expertise to diagnose accurately and recommend the most suitable treatment options.

Treatment Options for Canine Eyelid Styes

Treating canine eyelid styes can involve a combination of home remedies and veterinary interventions. The treatment approach will depend on the severity of the stye and the underlying cause.

1. Home remedies

eyedrops applied in dog

For mild cases, home remedies can often provide relief. Warm compresses applied to the affected eye can help reduce inflammation and encourage the stye to drain naturally. Additionally, keeping the area clean by gently wiping away any discharge can help prevent further irritation.

2. Veterinary intervention

If the stye persists or worsens despite home care, veterinary intervention may be necessary. The vet may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments to combat bacterial infections. In some cases, oral antibiotics may be necessary to address systemic infections.

Surgical intervention is rarely needed for canine eyelid styes. However, if the stye is large, causing significant discomfort or affecting your dog's vision, the vet may recommend surgical removal or drainage.

Remember, always follow your veterinarian's advice and complete the prescribed treatment to ensure a full recovery for your furry friend.

Preventing Canine Eyelid Styes

cleaning dog
  • Regular cleaning of dog’s eyes 
    Regularly cleaning your dog's eyes with a gentle, vet-approved eye wash can help remove any dirt or debris that may clog the oil glands.

    Be sure to use a clean, soft cloth or cotton pad to avoid further irritation.

  • Overall hygiene
    Maintaining good overall hygiene is also essential. Regularly grooming your dog, especially around their face and eyes, can help prevent bacteria from accumulating and causing infections. Keeping your dog's living environment clean and free from potential irritants can also contribute to their eye health.

  • Balanced diet
    Additionally, feeding your dog a balanced diet and providing proper nutrition can help support their immune system, reducing the likelihood of infections and styes.

    By incorporating these preventive measures into your dog's routine, you can significantly decrease the chances of them developing eyelid styes.

When to Seek Veterinary Care for Canine Eyelid Styes

a vet carefully checking dog

While some canine eyelid styes may resolve on their own or with home care, there are situations where veterinary intervention is necessary.

If your dog's stye persists or worsens despite home remedies, it's best to consult with a veterinarian. Seek immediate veterinary care if you notice any concerning symptoms, such as excessive discharge, or severe swelling, or if your dog shows signs of pain or discomfort. These may indicate a more serious infection or complications that require prompt attention.

Remember, as a responsible pet owner, you must prioritize your dog's health and well-being. Don't hesitate to reach out to a professional when in doubt.

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Conclusion

Canine eyelid styes can be uncomfortable for your furry friend, but with the right knowledge and care, you can help alleviate their eye troubles. Understanding the causes, recognizing the signs and symptoms, and seeking timely veterinary care are crucial steps in ensuring your dog's eye health.

By implementing preventive measures, such as regular eye cleaning, good hygiene practices, and a balanced diet, you can significantly reduce the risk of canine eyelid styes. And remember, when in doubt, always consult with a veterinarian to provide your dog with the best possible care.

Your dog's eyes deserve the utmost attention and care. With the information provided in this comprehensive guide, you are now equipped to navigate the world of canine eyelid styes with confidence.

Dr. Athena Gaffud, DVM

Author: Dr. Athena Gaffud

Dr. Athena is a seasoned, board-certified veterinarian with comprehensive expertise in general practice, veterinary medicine, laboratory operations, and veterinary writing. She is passionate about animals and holistic health. 

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