My Dog Has a Sty on Their Eyelid
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A dog's eyes can reveal much about their health. Like their coat, if their eyes show distress or a change in condition, it can intimate there is a problem somewhere else on their body. However, sometimes there is a problem with the eye itself, such as when they have cataracts or a corneal ulcer. When we see our dog has a sty on their eyelid, we can worry the problem may affect their eyes more drastically.
At AnimalWised, we look at what happens when my dog has a sty on their eyelid. We understand the causes of this condition and find out what treatment options are available to remove it.
What are styes in dogs?
A sty is a lump which appears on the eyelid of dogs, also known as a hordeolum. The swelling is usually temporary, but they can grow to be quite large. The reason for this is because the sty is caused by a bacterial infection, specifically of the sebaceous oil gland of the eyelid. They can appear on either the upper or lower eyelid and the most common bacterial type is Staphylococcus aureus.
Although it can cause acute agitation in the dog, often leading them to scratch at their nose and eyes repetitively, it is not usually a serious condition. It can happen to dogs of any breed, age or sex, although dogs with lowered immune systems may have them worse than others.
The main symptom of styes on dog eyelids are the lump itself. This is due to the inflammation caused by the dog's antibodies attacking the bacteria. The swelling is caused by the formation of pus which does not always seep out. They are generally accompanied by discomfort and pain in the dog, but not all dogs will experience the same levels. Some may not be bothered by the presence of a sty at all.
Since the sty does sometimes cause the dog to scratch at their eyes, it can lead to serious secondary conditions. This is because the dog can cause physical damage to their eyes with their own claws. In extreme cases, this can lead to the development of corneal ulcers.
However, in most dogs the main symptom will be the inflammation. This can be accompanied by redness around the swelling, as well as more tearing in the dog's eyes.
Other causes of swelling on dog eyelids
A sty is not the only cause of inflammation on the dog's eyelids. If the swelling doesn't go down, visiting a veterinarian is advised to rule out other conditions that could be mistaken for a sty.
Some examples of diseases that can present with similar symptoms to styes in dogs are:
- Entropion: a condition more frequent in some breeds, such as Shar Pei. It is caused by the eyelashes rubbing against the eye. This can be due to the shape of their eyelids, with wrinkles and folds causing more issues. Related symptoms are eye irritation and tearing.
- Tumors: skin tumors in dogs may appear in the area of the eyelids. These appear as lumps which are often confused with styes, but they will have a different texture which is harder than a sty. One of the most frequent is the adenoma of the meibomian glands (sebaceous glands of the dog's eyelid). Although, fortunately, it is a benign tumor, it requires surgical treatment.
- Conjunctivitis and ulcers: these conditions affect the eye of the dog and also cause reddening of the eyelid. They can also result in excess tearing and pain. Conjunctivitis in dogs is due to inflammation of the conjunctiva, a different tissue on the eyelid than the sebaceous gland.
- Third eyelid: dogs have a nictitating membrane, also known as the third eyelid. In it is a gland called Harder's gland. These structures can present inflammation, hyperplasia (excessive growth) or prolapse (part of them protrudes to the outside). These alterations are easily differentiated from a stye because the color of the lump is pinker than that of the stye (which is the same as the eyelid skin) and because they are located in the medial area of the dog's eye. This means they can be seen on the edge of the eye closest to the animal's snout and farthest from the ear.
You can take a look at our related article if you want to know more about why your dog's third eyelid won't retract.
Treating a sty in dog's
As we have stated above, styes in dog eyelids are not serious diseases. In fact, they will usually heal themselves on their own without any specific treatment. However, if the infection is acute or the dog has other issues which require the sty to be treated, the following may be administered:
- Antibiotics: as it is a bacterial infection, the most effective remedy is an appropriate antibiotic for dogs. This is usually in the form of a topical cream applied to the affected area. Since the application of the ointment can be difficult and may lead to the dog scratching their eye more than without it, the veterinarian will usually prescribe antibiotic ointment only if the sty is unlikely to heal on its own.
- Warm towel: applying warm cloths to the area can help ease the process. It is advisable to do it 3 or 4 times a day for about 5 or 10 minutes. This will depend on how receptive the dog is to this process. If they do not enjoy it or become scared, do not continue this treatment. It is designed to help soothe the dog and reduce inflammation, so it will be counterproductive if they find it stressful. Always ensure the water is warm, not hot. Wash your hands and use a clean towel.
- Hygiene: keep the area clean and do not try to burst the inflammation. Hygiene is very important in these cases, but it should be enough to keep the area clean with water.
There are home remedies that have been considered positive treatments by some. These include cleaning the area with gauze soaked in warm chamomile infusion or in an infusion prepared by boiling water to which a tablespoon of turmeric is added. However, they will not cure the stye and may not be more effective than simply letting it heal on its own.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Has a Sty on Their Eyelid, we recommend you visit our Bacterial diseases category.