Why are my dog's eyes goopy?

Why are my dog’s eyes goopy?


            When answering this question, I need to ask a question of my own— What breed is your dog?  Certain breeds of dogs are known for having a‘normally’  increased eye discharge. Rottweilers and English Bulldogs have more goopy eye discharge and small breed dogs such as Toy Poodles and Chihuahuas often have a brownish or clear discharge. This may be normal. If your dog’s eyes have suddenly started producing more goopy tears, then there is most likely a problem we need to figure out!


            Breed Predisposition?:  When we see this type of discharge in certain breeds, it might not be a health issue— as long as the dog seems comfortable (not blinking or squinting a lot) and the white of his eyes aren’t really irritated (bloodshot.)


            There are also certain breeds that are known for having extra skin folds under the eyes (English Bulldog and Shar Pei, for example), and this may cause the eyelids to swell and rotate inward— resulting in the eyelashes rubbing directly on the eye. This may be a very serious problem that can result in corneal ulcer and even blindness if not addressed quickly and correctly.


            Environmental Causes:If your dog is blinking and squinting a lot, or his eyes or eyelids are red and inflamed, then he probably has a problem we need to treat. Sometimes eye problems just occur in one eye, and other times they may occur in both.


            Exposure to wind, dust, smoke or hanging his head out the car window mayirritate a dog’s eyes.  So, if your dog’s eyes seem extra irritated, it’s time to ask “What could be causing it?”


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            In these cases, there may be enough swelling of the eye’s normal drainage pipeline (the nasolacrimal duct), that the tears cannot drain into the nose as they’re supposed to.  The use of ear flushes and anti-inflammatory ointments can be quite helpful.


            Allergies.  You don’t have to have allergies to react when the air quality is poor. If you do have allergies . . . well, you’re going to probalby have dry, itchy and irritated eyes on bad days. The same is true for dogs.  During peak Hay Fever season, the air quality also tends to decrease— there is often more dust and other irritants (including allergens and pollen) in the air.


            Dry Eye.Some dogs may develop an abnormally dry eye for a number of reasons. Dry eye is always a surprising diagnosis for the owner, because a “dry eye” is actually extra goopy!  In these cases, the eye has stopped producing the watery tears that provide nutrition to the eye and isover-producing mucous tears to compensate.  Some cases have Dry Eye have underlying causes such as Underactive Thyroid Gland, Drug Reaction and Allergies.  Once correctly identified, these conditions are treatable!


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            Serious Infections.Eye problems are not something to be trifled with. The clear part of the eye (the cornea) does not have a healing blood supply, so an eye problem can go from mild to vision threatening very quickly.  Glaucoma, eyelid tumors and other abnormal conditions of the eye need to be identified and treated quickly for optimal results.

            Don’t mess with the eye!  Even if your pet’s problem isn’t serious, it is still irritating and may even be painful. Remember, pet’s don’t display pain as readily as people do. If your pet is showing even mild signs of an eye issue, it may be a major problem.  


This is not a complete list of possible eye problems!  Whole textbooks are dedicated to the eye.

by Dr. Jon Klingborg, DVM




Valley Animal Hospital of Merced & 5 Star Yelp Reviews!

VAH is is proud to "howl" about our great reviews!

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Every day, Valley Animal Hospital pledges to provide “5 Star Service” to our clients and their pets!

It looks like we’re living up to that pledge, because Valley Animal Hospital of Merced has been voted “Best Veterinary Hospital” for the past 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018.)

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Valley Animal Hospital has earned 4.8 Stars on FaceBook and 4.7 Stars on Google Reviews!

Unfortunately, Yelp! has chosen to “filter” Fifty Seven (57) of our Five-Star Reviews, which means that 57 Yelp User’s votes DID NOT COUNT toward our Star Rating.

Why doesn’t every vote count, Yelp?

(BTW- every vote counts on Google Reviews & FaceBook— just sayin’)

Furthermore, Yelp! has not counted any of the eleven Five-Star Reviews we received in 2018!?

What’s up with that, Yelp?

Well, at VAH, we believe that democracy works best when every vote counts, so here are those ‘filtered’ (i.e. “Yelp censored”) reviews going back to 2015.

VAH is proud to “howl” about our great reviews. Valley Animal Hospital of Merced says “Thank You” to our fantastic clients for your kind words.

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About Valley Animal Hospital of Merced

 Valley Animal Hospital of Merced is a full-service animal hospital that offers pets ‘preventative care’ and vaccines, spaying & neutering, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, chemotherapy, ultrasound and radiology, in-house laboratory, pet lodging and care, an online discount pharmacy, and so much more!

    We make our patients and clients comfortable with a beautiful veterinary facility. Our doctors will give you straightforward answers and we offer a number of resources that enable you to learn about how to take better care of your pets. 

     Valley Animal Hospital is the only veterinary clinic in the Greater Merced area that offers a Loyalty Program-- our clients earn "Rover Rewards" (2 points for every $1 spent) and those points may be redeemed for $$$ off of services or products, a FREE night boarding or even a free Office Exam.

    98% of our clients recommend us to their friends and family, which is why we have a 4.8 stars (out of 5) rating on Google Reviews and FaceBook!

    Please call us today to get started on a lifetime of wellness care for your pet-- 209.384.7387.


Jon Klingborg, DVM

Christine B. McFadden, DVM

Adam Lauppe, DVM

Knee Injuries: The Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in Dogs

     Unfortunately, the Doctors at Valley Animal Hospital routinely diagnose dogs with a "ruptured ACL." This is a common knee injury in young/athletic or older/overweight dogs.  A dog's knee is designed a lot like a human's knee-- with two ligaments inside the joint that cross (the ACL and the PCL) to stabilize the lower half of the leg.

Dogs are very good are hiding pain and in many cases, the only sign of “pain” that you’ll see is that the dog is limping.

     Whether the cruciate ligament partially tears or completely ruptures, this causes a wobble in the lower half of the leg every time the dog is bearing weight on the limb. (A reminder that dogs only have "knees" in their back legs, so this injury can only happen on a rear leg.  The front leg is designed like a human's arm-- with an elbow joint and the bones + ligaments you'd expect in a person.)

     Once the ACL ligament is torn or ruptured, the knee joint is unstable and the body attempts to 'heal' the joint by producing bone spurs that limit the wobble in the knee. It's a great idea that has very bad consequences. Anyone who has ever had a bone spur knows how painful they can become. Dogs are very good are hiding pain and in many cases, the only sign of "pain" that you'll see is that the dog is limping.  In other words, if your dog isn't using his leg like he used to (i.e. walking with it) then it means it hurts to walk normally!

    Most dogs that have ruptured their ACL will be very painful for the first few days and then will seem a little more comfortable after that. This is just like any of us with an injury-- drop a brick on your toe and it hurts a bunch at first and then settles down after that.  Except that a ruptured ligament will not heal on its own, and the longer the knee is unstable, the more likely it is that your pet will suffer from muscle atrophy and bone spurs.

   Dogs with a ruptured ACL will usually "toe touch", so the leg isn't held all the way up, but instead the foot is just tapping the ground. We may see these dogs try to use the leg when walking on good footing-- such as carpeting or the grass-- but will quickly pull the leg up as soon as they get on slick footing such as linoleum or hard wood floors.

    Though you may find splints or other gizmos on the internet to "repair" a ruptured ACL, they really don't work that well. The way to repair this problem and restore function is through surgery. There are several surgeries for this problem and they all have advantages and disadvantages-- just like every other choice we have to make in life!

     At Valley Animal Hospital of Merced, the Doctors routinely diagnose this injury and perform surgery to stabilize the knee.  We primarily use the Extracapsular Technique to stabilize a knee with a ruptured ACL.  With the Extracapsular Technique, two false ligaments are implanted at an angle to 'replace' the torn ligament.    

     We have done hundreds of these surgeries over the years with excellent success rates and return to function. 

     Diagnosis of your pet's knee problem will likely require an Exam and Sedation (to manipulate the knee without hurting your pet.)  It may also require X-Rays. We've seen where some dogs rupture their right knee's ACL ligament because the left hip has a problem-- causing the dog to shift more weight onto the right knee. Understanding all of a dog's orthopedic (bone & joint) issues helps us to determine what is the best surgery and course of action for that dog.

     After the dog's workup, we'll discuss the various surgeries, their costs and advantages/disadvantages of the techniques. From there, the choice is yours whether we refer you to someone who performs a different type of surgery or we use the Extracapsular technique on your pet!

     The Doctors and Staff at Valley Animal Hospital of Merced hope that this information helps you to understand a little bit more about ACL injuries in dogs.  We've helped hundreds of dogs by repairing the ruptured knee ligament with our affordable Extracapsular surgical technique.

-- Jon Klingborg, DVM