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Dog Eye Stye: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments (With FAQs)

Dog eye stye causes symptoms and treatments

Nothing is more threatening for dog owners than seeing a swollen part on their pet’s body, which can sometimes be a dog eye stye.

Some owners are not even aware that dogs can also get stye on their eyes as humans do.

Dog eye styes can cause pain and discomfort to your canine companions. While it’s not an entirely serious condition, a dog eye stye needs to be treated immediately to avoid any secondary condition that may arise.

This article covers everything you need to know about dog eye stye, including diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Continue reading until the end if you want to know more about this health issue.

What Is an Eye Stye?

What is a dog eye stye

An eye stye or hordeolum is a small, tender lump that forms on either the upper or lower eyelid. It’s a painful condition that affects humans and animals alike, including dogs. An eye stye in dogs is usually temporary, but it can sometimes lead to serious secondary conditions if left untreated.

Eye styes occur when the sebaceous glands of the eyelids or an eyelash hair follicle are infected, resulting in eye irritation.

This infection of the sebaceous glands is primarily caused by a bacterial species known as staphylococcus aureus, which can spread through direct contact.

Can Dogs Get Eye Styes?

Dogs can get eye styes, causing inflammation to the inner and outer sides of their eyelids. This bacterial infection is accompanied by redness and swelling.

A dog’s stye can sometimes be hard to spot due to the fur around the dog’s eyes that tend to cover it.

However, it develops rapidly over the course of a few days and only becomes noticeable when it’s already enlarged.

Due to the annoying feeling stye brings to the pet, some dogs tend to scratch at their eyes, causing eye trauma or eye injury. This can lead to corneal ulcers, which could potentially impair your dog’s vision.

How Do Dogs Get Styes in Their Eyes?

How dogs get eye styes

Dogs can develop styes in their eyes through infection caused by the same bacteria that infect humans, which is the bacterium staphylococcus aureus.

Although this bacteria spreads through direct contact, a stye is generally not contagious. Hence, the idea that dogs can get it from humans and vice versa can be ruled out.

In fact, the development of a dog eye stye has no underlying cause in particular. However, there are many possible triggers that can potentially predispose a dog to get eye infections like styes.

Some of these triggers include a weakened immune system, eye trauma, allergies, ingrown hair, and dirt or debris trapped in the dog’s eyelids.

Further, the swelling in the dog’s eye stye will likely be due to a formation of pus. It makes most dogs experience pain and discomfort.

Diagnosing Dog Eye Styes

Dog eye styes are sometimes mistaken for many eye diseases, as they can all share the same symptoms.

Only a veterinarian can identify what condition your dog’s eye has by performing tests like bacterial culture.

A pet with dog eye stye will commonly show the following symptoms:

  • Inflammation of the eyelid
  • Swelling appears around the dog’s eyes.
  • Ruptured abscess on the eyelid with pus
  • The dog is constantly rubbing its eyelid or eyes.

Other similar conditions may exist that display similar symptoms to a dog eye stye, such as bacterial blepharitis, chalazion, an internal lump that grows on the inner surface of the eyelid, and third eyelid or cherry eye.

Tumor of the meibomian glands, known as meibomian gland adenomas (MBA) for older dogs and juvenile pyoderma that forms small abscesses on the puppy’s eyelid, also display similar symptoms to dog eye stye.

In this case, it is important to have a veterinarian make a careful diagnosis of your dog for proper treatment.

How to Treat a Dog Eye Stye

Veterinarian examining and treating dogs eye stye

Most styes in a dog’s eyelid go away on their own within a week without any specific treatment, given that the affected area receives proper care. However, not all dogs react the same way to this condition.

There are many ways to treat dog eye stye, including home remedies, medications, and surgery. This will depend on the severity of the infection and how well the dog responds to the current treatment.

The list below shows a few home remedies to treat dog eye stye in the eyelid:

  • Keep your dog’s eyes clean. To do this, gently wash the dog’s eyelids and the surrounding area with a soft washcloth. Soak it in warm water and gently hold it against the affected area.
  • Warm compress. A warm compress provides mild heat to the dog’s eyelid, which can encourage glands to drain. A warm compress can be done in several ways, such as using warm clothes, a tea bag, or warm rice.
  • Rinse the pus away. At some point, the abscess on your dog’s eyelid will rupture, and the pus will come out. Rinsing it with saline solution or wiping it gently with a warm cloth will help keep the infection from spreading.

For more tips on how to clean your dog’s eye as part of regular pet care, check out this informative video that also discusses how to make a saline solution:

How to clean your dog's eyes and make your own saline eye wash.

These home remedies help relieve the dog’s pain and discomfort in the eyelid. The stye should improve or heal completely in a few days if these are done regularly.

Further, keep in mind to always practice safety precautions while treating the dog stye, like wearing gloves and washing your hands before and after doing the home remedy. This is to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Meanwhile, here are some medications to treat dog eye stye:

  • Oral or topical antibiotics: An antibiotic is known to be the most effective remedy for a bacterial infection. Topical antibiotics are commonly given to dogs, but some dogs don’t prefer having their eyes touched. In this case, oral antibiotics can be given.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication: This is prescribed and administered to reduce the inflammation in the dog’s eyelid and relieve the pain and discomfort.
  • Topical antibiotic ointment: There are topical eye ointments that contain both a steroid and an antibiotic. These are used to treat inflammation and infection at the same time.

It’s important to note that medications like these should be prescribed by a veterinarian and only administered with their advice.

Moreover, if the stye is severe, doesn’t respond to any of the treatments mentioned, or has gotten worse, the veterinarian may suggest surgical removal.

What the vet will do in this treatment is surgically remove or drain off the pus by opening the stye.

Afterward, regular washing of the dog’s eyes with warm water is essential to keep the affected area clean.

It’s also advised to use an Elizabethan collar, commonly known as E-collar or cone, to prevent the dog from scratching its eyes after the surgery.

How Much Does It Cost to Treat a Dog Stye Eye?

Vet treating dog eye stye

Dog eye stye doesn’t always require medical treatment. However, there are cases that it doesn’t go away on its own and thus needs medications and/or surgery depending on the severity.

The table below shows the breakdown of medical expenses or cost of treating a dog eye stye:

Type of ExpenseCost
Vet Consultation$48 – $85
Ophthalmologist Consultation$200 – $400
Medical Tests (Blood Panel/Bacterial Culture)$100 – $300
Oral Antibiotic$20 – $50
Anti-inflammatory Medication$15 – $60
Topical Eye Ointment$210 – $300
Surgical Treatment$300 – $1,000
Elizabethan Collar$10 – $20
Total Medical Cost$755 – $1,880

The total medical cost will depend on which treatments or procedures are done to remedy the dog stye.

If your pet responds to the application of a warm compress or oral medications, the expenses will be a lot cheaper.

Furthermore, the cost to treat dog eye stye is not entirely expensive. However, pet insurance can help cover or reduce your canine companion’s medical cost even more.

How to Prevent Eye Styes on Dogs

It’s impossible to determine when a dog will acquire a certain condition like an eye infection.

With this, learning how to prevent eye styes on dogs is important to keep your pet from being susceptible to this illness.

To help you out, here are some pet care tips to avoid clogging hair follicles with dirt and debris and thus prevent eye styes on dogs:

  • Always clean your dog’s face properly during bathtime.
  • Trim the furs around the dog’s eyes regularly.
  • Use protective dog glasses when you take your pooch out to drive.
  • Keep the windows of your house closed during windy days.

Meanwhile, regular checkups are recommended to diagnose the dog’s eye stye early and to prevent it from aggravating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Poor puppy with eye stye sitting at the street

Will a Dog Stye Go Away on Its Own?

A dog stye goes away on its own. However, it’s still important to seek professional advice from a veterinarian to know how to properly care for your canine companion with an eye stye.

Providing your pooch with home remedies is necessary to prevent the stye from getting worse. In severe cases, a dog eye stye can lead to corneal ulcer if left untreated.

How Long Does an Eye Stye Last on a Dog?

Dog eye stye can last for a week. This can be lessened to three to five days if treated accordingly. Meanwhile, a dog that doesn’t receive any treatment for its eye stye can suffer from this for up to 14 days.

Can I Use Human Eye Drops on My Dog?

It’s not advised to use human eye drops on your dog. Any medication made for humans, including eye drops, is not safe for pets as it may contain ingredients not suitable for dogs.

Using human-medicated eye washes for your canine companion may cause the dog more pain in the eyes, damage, and even blindness.

Keep in mind to consult with your veterinarian first before giving your pet any medication.

Can Dogs Get Styes From Humans?

Dog styes are also caused by staphylococcus aureus, the same bacteria that affect humans, but they are not transmitted in the same manner. Hence, dogs can’t get styes from humans.

Is a Stye Contagious?

Generally, a stye is not considered contagious. However, the bacteria that causes a stye can spread through direct contact.

With this, it’s important to always wash your hands before and after touching the affected area to keep the bacteria from spreading.

Final Thoughts

A dog eye stye is an eye infection among dogs that causes them pain and discomfort. It’s not a critical condition on its own, but it can sometimes lead to more serious secondary conditions if left untreated.

Moreover, a dog’s eye stye is commonly mistaken for other eye diseases like blepharitis and tumors.

Because of this, consulting with your veterinarian is important for a proper diagnosis so your dog can get the treatment it needs.

There are several treatment options for a stye, such as home remedies and medical treatment in the form of prescription medicines. What to administer to your dog will depend on the eye condition’s severity.

Hopefully, you learned a lot about this condition through this guide. As a pet owner, have you had any experience with a dog eye stye? Let us know in the comment section below!