Sunday, February 06, 2011
Seek vet help before treating 'weepy' eyes
Paws & Claws
Jill Bowen has practiced veterinary medicine in England and Texas. She lives in Blacksburg now, and answers local pet owners' questions every week in The Roanoke Times and roanoke.com.
New kitten becomes
rambunctious at night
- Guinea pigs can be easily house-trained with a little patience and praise
- Bacteria can cause ear infections in cats
- Chiari is a malformation of the back for some spaniels
Q I have a 4-year-old Apricot toy poodle whose eyes weep all the time. The poodle groomer suggested I try something called "Angel Eyes" to get rid of the stains.
A There are a number of commercial eyedrops available to treat excessive chronic tearing in dogs.
However before trying any of these over the counter products a visit to your veterinarian for an eye examination is in order. There are various eye conditions that can cause this weepy eye condition, which if neglected, can lead to more serious eye problems.
For example the tear ducts may be blocked, the dog may have a congenital condition called entropion, where the lower eyelid is turned inward causing the eyelashes to rub on the eyeball.
This, if neglected, can produce a chronic ulcer, which in turn can lead to scarring of the front surface of the eyeball. This inherited condition is relatively common in certain families of toy poodles. The operation to correct this is fairly simple and makes the dog so much more comfortable.
Some dogs develop chronic eye and nose problems because of allergies and some viral infections, such as the herpes virus.
Many of these conditions may either require surgery to correct the problem, antibiotic treatment, or both. Once the initial problem causing the excessive tearing has been corrected, the unsightly dark stains should disappear.
Q I recently bought a Swiffer wet mop for my kitchen floors. It has a horrid odor and I worry that it will affect my cat and dog that sleep in the kitchen. The company said the smell was transient and was safe for my pets. Shall I go back to using ammonia and water as I did before?
A I have used wet Swiffer pads on my wooden floors with no ill effects to either my dogs or cats, but have now reverted to what I have always used to wash my kitchen floors and that is a mixture of white vinegar and water.
This is quite safe for our cats as well as being a good deodorant. The fumes from ammonia and ammonia mixtures may cause burning of the eyes.
As ammonia denatures it has a urinelike odor and is one of the reasons cats may start to mark in the area where the ammonia solution is used.
Do not use ammonia-based products or petroleum-based products or those with strong synthetic fragrances, which cats hate, and may even cause an allergic reaction in both cats and dogs. Steam cleaning and enzyme cleaners are also safe for animals.
Q I was walking my dog along part of the Appalachian Trail when he flushed out a very large catlike animal with no tail, lots of fur and hairy ears. Could it have been a lynx?
A While I suppose it could be possible that it was a lynx I think that it is highly unlikely. It is much more likely to have been a bobcat, as we know they are present in Virginia.
Lynxes are a much rarer wild feline and have a habitat that is more or less confined to the slopes of the Rockies on the edge of Montana, northern Wyoming and perhaps the very north of Idaho.
The northern Wyoming Rockies are thought to be their southernmost habitat. Canada, because of the climate, has a greater lynx population. Lynx do not hibernate during winter and rely on the snowshoe hare for a large part of their diet during the winter.
Both lynx and the snowshoe hare need cold, snowy weather to thrive in winter. Many lynx recently have been dying of starvation in the winter as other predators have been hibernating later and leaving less food supplies for the lynx.