Our pets may be infected and hurt like us, perhaps more often because of their curiosity that makes them occasionally in trouble. Some varieties are prone to eye problems due to facial anatomy. It is very important that the veterinarian examines any irritated eyes because the eyes will soon deteriorate. If topical ophthalmology (eye drops) is used, the instructions on the label must be followed, the medication should be used correctly, and the eyes should be re-examined at the required intervals.

Having an assistant restraining a pet always makes the eye easier to treat; however, if you can’t find a pair of extra hands, you can administer drops and ointments yourself. The eyes are sensitive, and in the case of injuries or infections, the pet may be opaophilic (away from light) and painful. The good news is that after a few treatments, the eyes should be more comfortable.

Always start with animals that are facing away from you. Contact with the eyes is an advantage to show that some dogs and cats will only try to look at their faces and avoid you. Tilt the pet’s head up with one hand. If they look reluctant, keep your head level so that the jaws are parallel to the floor. As long as the nose does not point to the floor, you can take the medicine. The other hand holds the eye drops or ointment between the thumb and forefinger. With your palm facing away from you, use the back of your hand along your little finger to gently pull the skin above your eyebrows toward you and pull your eyes apart. Do not touch the applicator with the eyeball. Squeeze a drop of ointment or a thin ointment according to the instructions on the eyeball. You can “tear off” the ointment strip on the edge of the eyelid as needed. Gently close your eyelids and apply your eyes to the eyes.

It is important to repeat the ophthalmic medication as directed by the veterinarian. In the case of a corneal ulcer (a defect in the transparent covering of the eye), the doctor may ask you to apply a partial eye exam every two hours for the first 24 hours. If not treated aggressively, corneal ulcers will soon progress to blindness. These patients are referred to as eye emergencies. If you think you can’t do this, ask your veterinarian to stay in hospital until the dosage regimen is reduced to the frequency you feel comfortable with. Work schedules sometimes prevent us from taking care of our pets when we are sick.

Your pet vet may ask for a re-examination. Be sure to follow up as required. Eyes that do not respond to treatment can only become more painful and difficult to treat, and may be more expensive if the condition worsens to an eye emergency.

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