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Dr. K
Dr. K, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7544
Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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what does it mean if the white area in a dogs eyes is red ...

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what does it mean if the white area in a dogs eyes is red rather than white?
Hi indyguy,
There are many things that can cause an eye to be red, but the most common are:

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS)
Corneal Ulcer
Bacterial conjunctivitis

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a fairly common disease in dogs and is also referred to as "dry eye". In this disease, the dog stops producing the watery layer of tears and continues to only produce the oily and mucus layers. With the absence of the aqueous tears, the eyes become dried out, irritated, red, and a build-up of the mucus and oil occurs and cakes around the outside of the eye. Luckily, this disease is easy to diagnose and is very treatable.
You should take your dog into a veterinarian as soon as possible to have this evaluated. The vet can test for KCS using a strip of paper called a Schirmer Tear Test. The vet will also check the eyes for any corneal ulceration or bacterial infection that may have occured secondary to this condition. The treatment involves daily (lifetime) instillation of artificial tears and cyclosporine drops into the affected eyes. Dogs with uncomplicated disease most often make a full recovery as long as treatment is continued.
Corneal ulcers can be a primary problem or a secondary problem to another disease process, and can be tested for with something called a fluoroscein dye test. The vet will instill some green dye into both of the dog's eyes, and then examine them with a purple light. If an ulcer is present it will glow green. Corneal ulcers are treated with topical antibiotics in a preparation designed for the eye as either a drop or an ointment. A topical drug called atropine is also used to control the pain associated with this condition.
Glaucoma and uveitis can both be tested for with an instrument called a Tono-pen or Schiotz tonometer. These will measure the amount of pressure inside the dog's eye. If the dog has glaucoma this can be managed with topical medications until the source of the disease is diagnosed and dealt with. In some cases, this can require surgery.
Bacterial conjunctivitis is diagnosed by ruling all of these other problems out. If the Schirmer Tear Test, Fluorscein dye test and tono-pen exam are all normal, then bacterial conjunctivitis is assumed and is treated for with a topical antibiotic preparation with added steroids for the inflammation and pain.
I hope that this information is of help to you, and better equips you to ask appropriate questions of your veterinarian. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Dr. K
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
is this an emergency type situation that requires attention tonight?
That depends on how long your dog's eye(s) have been red.
Is it one eye or both?
Is your dog blinking excessively?
Is your dog pawing at his face or trying to rub his face on the carpet?
Does he have any discharge from the affected eye(s)?

Dr. K
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Today is the first day I have noticed it, it is in both eyes, they appear to be pretty close to the same color of red, she doesnt seem to be blinking more than normal, and I have not seen her paw at her face, there was a small amount of a white gooey discharge from her left eye.
How old is your dog?
What breed is she?
Is she up-to-date on all of her vaccinations?
Has she been boarding recently?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
She is 10
She is a Shepard Lab mix
She is not up to date, her rabies is out of date, she has not been boarded, but I did puppy sit this week.
Since she is not pawing at her face or blinking excessively in discomfort, then it is unlikely (but not impossible) that it is glaucoma (which would really be the biggest emergency). The most likely cause for the redness to the eyes in her case, is a simple bacterial or viral conjunctivitis (possibly contracted from the puppy). I do recommend that you take her to the veterinarian in the morning, so that she can be evaluated for this problem.

Dr. K
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