It is important to monitor the growth and development of a newborn puppy. Newborn puppies don’t have a strong immune system and this leaves them vulnerable to infections. One common infection in puppies that are at least 7 days old is a newborn puppy eye infection.
Newborn puppies are born with underdeveloped eyes. The eyelids remain shut until the puppy is at least two weeks old and the eyes are partially formed. Even with the eyelids closed, a puppy is still vulnerable to infections from germs.
Bacteria is the main cause of newborn puppy eye infection. When bacteria enters the puppy’s eye, it multiplies rapidly. The puppy’s eye develops an infection and becomes swollen.
This condition is called neonatal conjunctivitis and is a leading cause of newborn puppy blindness. If left untreated, the infection becomes severe and causes the puppy to lose its eye.
Puppies and mature dogs are affected by 5 types of conjunctivitis
- Follicular conjunctivitis
- Serious conjunctivitis
- Purulent conjunctivitis
- Chronic conjunctivitis
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or Dry eye
Purulent conjunctivitis is the infection that causes newborn puppy eye infection. the Staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria is responsible for this infection.
Common signs of Purulent neonatal conjunctivitis in puppies include;
- Pus discharge
- Dried crusty eyelid
- Swollen conjunctiva
- Puppy not thriving
- Puppy scratching or rubbing infected eye
- Collapsed eyeball
- Corneal ulceration
- Red eyes (bacterial inflammation)
Pus fills the eye causing it to swell further. If this pus is not drained immediately, the puppy will lose its eye. There are two ways to treat newborn puppy eye infection;
One is rushing your puppy to a professional vet to have the problem addressed. This is a good idea especially if you are not experienced in handling newborn puppies before. The procedure for treating a puppy eye infection is pretty much what we are going to suggest here.
The second option, which we will give you tips for, is treating newborn puppy eye infection at home. Again, only do this if you have experience handling newborn puppies and are familiar with the common help problems that affect puppies in general.
Without further ado, let’s get to business.
Home treatment for newborn puppy eye infection
Again, only person this home remedy for newborn puppy eye infection if you have experience taking care of a litter.
What you need;
- Warm compress (made of clean towels soaked in warm water)
- Surgical needle (optional)
- Clean towels
- Saline solution
- Antibiotic eye drip
- Disposable gloves
Step 1: Warm Compress
Holding the puppy’s head still, dab on the eye with the warm compress. Ensure the warm press is warm and not scalding hot. You do not want to injure the eye and cause the puppy more pain.
A warm press will help increase blood flow to the eye and reduce the pain and swelling. The moist compress also softens the crusting around the eye.
This crust is as tough as a scab. It needs to be cracked open to drain out the puss. Without doing this, the puppy will lose its eye. Press on the eye, with the warm compress, one more time for about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Crack open the eye
To crack open the eye, place your two thumbs over the eye and start rubbing outwards. You want to apply slight pressure to try and open the eyelids.
If this does not work, then we recommend dabbing the eye again with a warm compress. You have to get rid of the thick layer of crust sealing the eyelids shut. If the warm press does not work, you will have to pry the eyelids open with a surgical needle.
Only proceed with this part if you have done it before. Otherwise, take your puppy to a vet.
Step 3: Drain the eye
Slowly run the surgical needle between the eyelids to break the crust. The eye is filled with pus so you don’t have to worry about poking the dog’s eye.
But be gentle and patient as you slowly break the crust away. When pus starts coming out, the crust is broken.
Wipe outwardly as you let the pus ooze out. You do not want to wipe inward or dab at the eye. Doing this will introduce bacteria back into the eye and reinfect it.
Step 4: Disinfect the eye
First, clean the eye with saline. Saline is a mixture of sodium chloride with water and is used for medicinal purposes. Saline helps clean wounds and moistens dry eyes. It can also be used to rehydrate a dog that has lost too much water through vomiting and diarrhea.
Feel free to use any other pet-friendly disinfecting solvent. But saline water is medically proven to bring bacteria to the surface and out of a wound.
Step 5: Treat the eye
Apply a pet-approved antibiotic over the open eye. We recommend Terramycin, a vet-approved antibiotic that kills bacteria and clears neonatal conjunctivitis in both cats and dogs.
Put tip: Bacteria multiplies rapidly and can reinfect the eye again. Apply Terramycin two to three times a day to completely kill the bacteria.
Consult with your vet first before using any other alternatives to Terramycin. After applying an antibiotic to the dog's eye 2 to 3 times a day, you should notice the eye-opening normally.
Good job! You managed to save your puppy from losing its eye to neonatal conjunctivitis.
Step 6: Fortify puppy’s immune system
Puppies are exposed to more viruses and bacteria as they grow up. Rather than spend time at the vet treating all kinds of diseases, we recommend strengthening your puppy’s immune system with Bullyade puppy supplement.
Puppies get their immunity from the mother’s milk. It is a good idea to boost your puppy’s immunity with Bullyade, a number one pet-approved dog supplement. Bullyade has all the important vitamins and minerals every puppy needs to stay healthy and fight off infections.
Add a scoop or two of Bullyade into the puppy’s food as you wean them out. You could also mix saline water with Bullyade just before you hydrate a puppy.
Newborn puppy eye infection is easily treatable when you notice it in advance. Check for all the symptoms for neonatal conjunctivitis before following the procedure above. If you have never done this before, take your puppy to a vet to have the same procedure performed.