Bailey had Gobs of Puss in his Left Eye. Then His Eyelid Looked Weird.
Bailey had big wads of puss coming from his left eye two mornings in a row and he was trying to rub his eye. Ouch. Not surprisingly, he didn't want to walk very far yesterday morning, so we didn't go far. It looked like conjunctivitis so I figured it was Sunday and we'd better check in with the vet first thing Monday morning. This morning, his lower eyelid looked like it was turning inward and that together with the puss led us to the vet first thing this morning.
Diagnosis? A Scratched Eye, Leading to Blepharospasm and Conjunctivitis.
The vet said that the outward conditions of gunky eye (my terminology, it's actually an eye infection called conjunctivitis which all of us who have children are probably VERY familiar with) and the inward turning of the eyelid is an involuntary spasming of the eyelid called blepharospasm, are symptoms of an underlying problem with his eye. Blepharospasm is a quick blinking of the eyelid caused by involuntary contractions of the eyelid muscles. It is sometimes caused by dry eyes so the vet did a tear test on both of Bailey's eyes. He passed. He doesn't have dry eyes. He also doesn't have glaucoma. The vet went on to do a stain test with a bright green liquid to check for any eye injury such as a corneal scratch. The green liquid quickly passed through into and out of Bailey's nose and onto his tongue which was a bit disturbing but actually a good sign that his sinuses aren't plugged up. It appears that Bailey somehow scratched his eye which then got infected, and the irritation from the scratch and the infection is causing the blepharospasm, the rapid twitching of his eyelid.
How is Bailey's Blepharospasm and Conjunctivitis Being Treated?
Bailey's vet does his acupuncture treatments (today was a regular appointment with the eye added in), so she used her acupuncture skills and injected into an acupuncture point in his eyelid to try to correct the blepharospasm. It worked! The eyelid immediately turned back outward where it belongs but I have to tell you, Bailey was not at all happy with this treatment. Then she put a topical ophthalmic ointment into the corner of his eye to treat the conjunctivitis. Bailey looked pretty terrible right after the treatment, with the green stuff and the ointment in his eye and dribbling out, but he is doing much better. And the green nose is a nice touch for St. Patrick's Day. He isn't bothering his eye anymore and the spasming seems to have stopped. His eyelid looks normal. I will have to watch the eyelid and report in with the vet if there's any recurrence of the blepharospasm. I am also going to continue with the ointment three times each day which may require help from the rest of the family since Bailey likes eye meds even less than having his teeth brushed. The ointment is a triple antibiotic that he would rather not have put into his eye, but his prognosis is excellent.
Blepharospasm Means Call Your Vet Right Away!
Sounds good. But, it turns out that it could have been worse and we have to watch it to make sure he continues to get better. Blepharospasm was a sign of eye injury, in Bailey's case, a relatively minor scratch. Blepharospasm is often very painful and it can cause functional blindness because the eye is effectively spasming closed. It was clear that Bailey's eye was not right because of the pussy discharge but it wasn't clear that it was a "see the vet right away situation" until I saw that the eyelid didn't look right. I am glad that I am slightly neurotic when it comes to the health of Bailey and my children. Because of that "healthy neurosis" as my children's pediatrician calls it, we headed right to the vet on Monday morning. That's exactly what the vet said we should have done. Prompt treatment has saved Bailey continuing discomfort and appears to have nipped the situation in the bud.
Blepharospasm can be a sign of much more serious optical issue than the minor scratch and infection that Bailey has. And, it is not always so easily treated. The lesson to be learned is that blepharospasm can indicate really big trouble and it requires immediate veterinary attention. We were lucky to find out that Bailey's eye problem was a simple problem with a relatively simple treatment. But even a simple case requires immediate treatment so it doesn't become a much bigger problem. Bailey is deaf. The last thing he needs is eye problems. It looks like Bailey's eye is going to be fine. I'll keep you posted!