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Giving Eye Medications to Dogs

(and probably also to cats, horses, others)

Description with illustrations of how I give eye medications (ointment or liquid). Your own best technique may differ.


Giving Eye Medications to Dogs

by Pam Green, © 2017

the goal

I am going to describe and illustrate how I give eye medictions. The illustrations are of giving the eye ointment "Optimune", but similar methods work for liquid eye drops. I am assuming that the dog is trusting and not in pain, thus will cooperate. The same or similar methods should work for a trusting and cooperative cat or horse, though for a horse your hands are small relative to his face.

Your own handedness may differ from mine and likewise your manual dexterity. So you may need to experiment and practice a bit to find out what works for you. Make your first effort with your vet or vet tech supervising you so you get guidance.

If you need to practice with "blanks", there is a sterile eye ointment called "Puralube", that is simply a lubricant, and there are the eye drops "Artificial Tears" and "iDrop Vet Plus" (no , iDrop is not made by Apple) , which are also lubricants. "Puralube" is an over the counter item you can probably find at any pharmacy. Likewise "Artificial Tears". Do ask your vet if these would be harmless to your pet..

doing it illustrated and described

Ask your vet if it's OK to store the ointment in the fridge. If so, that firms up the gel and makes it easier to administer. Optimune does not need to be refrigerated in order to preserve it, but it does make it easier to administer. (Thanks to Dr David Maggs, DVM, opthamologist, for this suggestion.) I think the chilled ointment may also feel good to the dog. (At least my current Optimune patient seems very willing to get her treatment.)

I had intended to present this as a short video, but the video I had wasn't clear enough. I was able to extract a few frames and improve them in Photoshop. I've selected the best one to show to you.

the eye ointment Optimune

the eye ointment "Optimune"

Being right handed, I hold the tube of ointment in my right hand, between index finger and thumb. The heel of my right hand is resting against the skull above the eye and is pulling the upper lid slightly upwards. My left hand fingers are under the dog's jaw, cradling it and steadying the head's position. My left hand thumb is pulling the lower lid downwards to create a "pocket" into which the extruded ointment will be dropped. The ointment can gently touch the inside of the lower lid. Try not to let the end of the tube actually touch the lid (and definitely not touch the eyeball), but just touch the extrueded ointment against the lid. The ointment will melt immediately and thus become invisible to you.

For liquid medications the method is pretty much the same, except you could let the drop fall onto the eyeball rather than into the pocket. It's probably still good idea to have the pocket formed because that inhibits the liquid from spilling down out of the eye.. Ask your vet or her tech to demonstrate and to supervise your first try.

eye med into pocket of lower lid

Holdeing the head and opening the eye lids , ointment extruded and ready to place into "pocket" of lower lid.

eye med into pocket of lower lid

The same illustration as above but with drawing overlaid in a way that I hope makes the process clearer to you.

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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 8/26/2017 revised 8/31/2017
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