The Labrador Brats Dog Blog

Labrador Retriever Eye Discharge


I thought this was over! When Dakota was a puppy, she started to develop a colored discharge in the corner of her right eye shortly after we brought her home. We thought it may have been the dog food we put her on at the time and started to switch her to a better dog food to help clear up her eye as well as take care of her dry, flaky skin. Now, at a little over a year old, she has developed the same yellowish colored discharge and her sister, Cheyenne, has decided that Dakota shouldn’t be the only one to have it. That initiated my search on the Internet to get more information about eye discharge in Labrador Retrievers and I was able to find the following informative article:

Like their human owners, dogs and cats sometimes wake up with “sleepers” in their eyes — a crusty discharge that results from the eye’s natural self-cleaning efforts. All pets will occasionally have some discharge, although bulgy-eyed breeds such as pugs, Pekingese, and Persian cats are much more prone to it than others.

“If you can wipe away the sleepers in the morning with a damp tissue and they don’t accumulate to any extent during the day, then you generally don’t have to worry about it,” says Nancy Willerton, D.V.M., a veterinarian in private practice in Denver. “But when the discharge continues throughout the day, your pet may have an infection.”

Eye infections are fairly common, Dr. Willerton adds. They can crop up on their own or when something lodges in the eye. They can also occur when the surface of the eye, called the cornea, gets scratched. A telltale sign of infection is the appearance of the discharge: It will often be thick, yellow, gray, or green. It may form a crust on the eyelids as well.

Pets with viral infections such as feline respiratory disease in cats and canine adenovirus in dogs will often develop runny eyes. “It may start out as a watery discharge but then become thicker as the infection progresses,” says Terri McGinnis, D.V.M., a veterinarian in private practice in the San Francisco area and author of The Well Cat Book and The Well Dog Book.

“Dogs and cats are prone to seasonal allergies, and the only sign may be a sticky eye discharge,” adds Craig N. Carter, D.V.M., Ph.D., head of epidemiology at Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at Texas A&M University in College Station. Unlike bacterial or viral infections, allergies usually result in a clear discharge, he adds. Your pet may be scratching himself and have bloodshot eyes as well.

A problem in older pets is that the eyes naturally become drier. This makes it easy for the outer portion of the eye to get irritated and inflamed, which can result in a sticky, yellow discharge on the surface of the eyeball.

Finally, some pets have a slight genetic defect called entropion, in which the eyelid turns inward and causes the lashes to brush against the surface of the eye. In cats and some breeds of dogs, like golden and Labrador retrievers, entropion often affects the lower eyelid. In dogs with big heads and loose facial skin, such as Saint Bernards, shar-peis, and Chow Chows, both lids can be affected. Over time entropion can cause irritation and infection, resulting in a discharge.

See Your Vet If…

So it seems that my Lab Brats may have Conjunctivitis after all! I will give you three guesses where they would have caught that – doggie daycare! Sometimes I have to wonder if the doggie daycare is worth it considering the amount of vet bills we get because they go there. For now though, I will keep my girls calm, keep their eyes clean, and see how they do in a few days. Usually these things clear themselves up – let’s just hope it is one of those times.


Image source