The Yorkshire terrier, or Yorkie, is a small dog breed of the terrier type and is often considered part of the toy group. Yorkies are energetic, adventurous and brave dogs that tend to have health problems, the most common of which are eye infections and complications usually caused mainly by a physical abnormality -- eyelash growth.
Ocular discharge is found in all types of dogs but most commonly in the Yorkshire terrier. This thick discharge, often called "sleepers," shows up as a crusty or slimy substance -- usually yellow, green or grey -- found in the duct of the eye after the dog has been sleeping. The discharge is also called purulent discharge, but this type of discharge in eye the duct is often an inflammatory response or the result of cellular activity.
Causes of eye discharge
Yorkies have abnormal eyelashes, or distichiae, that grow from the duct of the meibomian gland at the edge of the eyelid. The position of the breed's eyelashes can cause numerous eye-related problems such as tearing, squinting, corneal abrasions and scarring, but ocular discharge is the most common. The eye's natural self-cleaning process causes the discharge.
Cleaning up the eye discharge
An easy way to prevent an excessive amount of discharge build-up is to wipe away the "sleepers" often with a damp tissue. If the discharge builds up in the Yorkie's eye duct, wipe the duct with a warm, damp cloth, rubbing gently. You can add a small amount of salt to the solution if needed, but be careful not to rub the cloth directly on the dog's eye or to rub too hard.
Prevent eye discharge
To protect a Yorkie from excessive eye discharge, roll up the windows in a moving vehicle when the dog is inside to prevent the wind from drying the dog's eyes and adding to the irritation. Clean and check your Yorkie's eyes regularly to make sure eye discharge is not building up, and never miss an annual vet checkup.
Signs of infection
A visit to the vet is necessary if the eyes bulge, swell, dilate or redden or if the discharge has not ceased for 48 hours. Excessive blinking or sensitivity to bright lights are also signs of infection. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to further and more serious complications that may call for emergency medical treatments.