What is Dry Eyes in Pugs?

What is Dry eyes in pugs? It’ s a well known issue but some of the symptoms and the simple treatments weren’t that well known to me until it was almost too late.

A few years ago I took Hugo to a dog opticians to have his eyes assessed after noticing some pigmentation in one eye. I paid an awful lot of money for his professional opinion to be ‘it’s a pug thing’ He made it sound like there was nothing I could do and he didn’t even give his condition a name.

Over the years there has been some mild pigmentation to Hugo’s eyes but nothing major and nothing re wetting eye drops here and there didn’t solve. Fast forward to six months ago when we noticed green gloop/gunk/discharge in both Hugo’s eyes. It came on suddenly and when it didn’t improve with re wetting drops after a week or so I took him to our vet. We thought it was conjunctivitis…. green gloop that cleared with re wetting drops but always came back and was crusty in the morning. The vet ‘wasn’t sure’ and gave us some antibiotic drops and when they didn’t work we got some steroid drops then more rewetting drops and nothing worked. Every day same green gunk. No other symptoms until I noticed very suddenly he was losing his vision, one of the worst and scariest symptoms of dry eyes in pugs. He couldn’t see treats in front of his face if the light was low and occasionally bumped into Teddy and Harry’s toys on the floor.

I was devastated and immediately googled the heck out of ‘green discharge in dogs eyes’ if our vet wasn’t researching this then I sure as heck was. I came across an amazing article on vetchick.com (I’ll link it at the end if you want to read the whole thing) that really helped answer the question what is dry eyes in pugs, it said the green gloop is the body trying it’s best to help the situation and lubricate the eyes when there’s no tears.

So now I know what it is we can treat it. Well sort of. There’s no cure for Hugo’s condition so we can only treat the symptoms and keep him pain free and try make sure he doesn’t lose any more of his vision.

We now have a morning and evening routine in place to keep Hugo as comfortable as possible. Here’s what we do…

I start by cleaning any gunk build up from the night using saline eye drops to wash the gunk out and then wipe it away with a cotton wool pad (clean one for each eye) then I reward Hugo with a small treat. Knowing he’s getting a treat makes the process a little easier for him, and for me! The saline drops only clean the gunk away and don’t really moisturise the eye so we also use a hydrating gel which lasts around 10-12 hours at the moment. It says 1-2 drops but it’s a gel so I squeeze a small blob into each eye, and then offer another small treat. We’ve had two different gels recommended, Optixcare and Lubrithal and tried them both. Optixcare works great but doesn’t seem to last quite as long as Lubrithal for us. I’m currently trialling a two blob routine with it to see if that helps the longevity of it through the day.

I hate that Hugo has lost a lot of his vision because of this, something a simple treatment could have prevented so I really wanted to share to try prevent other pugs and dogs prone to this condition from succumbing to it.

Here’s the link to the vetchick article I read

Find Lubrithal on amazon here (link goes to amazon smile page which donates to pug charities when you use the smile.amazon url)

Find Optixcare on amazon here (links to amazon smile too!)

I really hope the little bit of information I’ve shared about our journey so far helps. Feel free to reach out to us here in the comments or over on Instagram if you have any questions or just want to have a whinge about this awful condition with someone who’ll totally get you! For more pug posts you can click here!

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