Summer is a wonderful time to be out and about with our pets; however, it is also a time for many animals to experience eye problems. Animals suffer from allergies, infections, and injuries during the summer months. Grass and pollen causes irritation to eyes. The surface of the eye is easily damaged resulting in corneal ulceration.   Tear ducts become blocked leading to staining when the area around the eye remains moist. There are many herbal washes and homeopathic remedies to assist in the healing process. The symptoms of eye problems may vary. These range from excessive tearing to discharge. Matter accumulates in the corner of the eye. Other symptoms include red inner eyelids, cloudiness, and the third eyelid covering the eye. Problems should be addressed immediately as these conditions may worsen leading  to permanent damage to the eyes.

     If the problem appears minor, one may make a simple eye wash by adding ¼ teaspoon of sea salt to one cup of room temperature distilled water. Use an eye-dropper to flush out the eye. There are a number of herbal remedies one can use to alleviate eye disorders.

Herbal Treatments

  • Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) is a centuries old treatment for eye complaints. It has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Eyebright can be given internally or used as an eyewash. Use one teaspoon of powdered eyebright  per 8oz of distilled water.  Bring water to a boil and allow the herbs to seep for 15 minutes.  Cool to room temperatures. Refrigerate between uses.  Remake every three days.
  • Bayberry Root Bark (Myrica pensylvanica, Myrica cerifera) has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. It encourages tissue regrowth and fights infection. Use one teaspoon of powdered raspberry leaves per 8oz of distilled water.  Bring water to a boil and allow the herbs to seep for 15 minutes.  Cool to room temperatures. Refrigerate between uses.  Remake every three days.
  • Marigold (Calendula officinalis) has been used for over a thousand years for a number of health issues. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Use only the flower petals in making tea. Use one teaspoon of marigold flowers per 8oz of distilled water.  Bring water to a boil and allow the herbs to seep for 15 minutes.  Cool to room temperatures. Refrigerate between uses.  Remake every three days.
  • German chamomile (Matricaria retutica) has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-allergenic activity. A cool tea compress is used for irritated eyes and conjunctivitis. Use the flower petals in making tea. Bring distilled water to a boil.  Place one teaspoon of chamomile powder into the liquid and let it seep for five minutes. Cool to room temperature before use.  Refrigerate between uses. Remake every three days.
  • Raspberry leaf tea (Rubus idaeus) eye wash is used as a compress for red eyes and for conjunctivitis. Use the leaves which are higher in vitamin C than the berries. Use one teaspoon of powdered raspberry leaves per 8oz of distilled water.  Bring water to a boil and allow the herbs to seep for 15 minutes.  Cool to room temperatures. Refrigerate between uses.  Remake every three days.
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties. It kills eye infections and reduces inflammation. Use the rhizomes and roots in making tea. Use one tablespoon of powdered root to 8oz of distilled water.  Simmer for twenty minutes.  Cool to room temperature before use.  Refrigerate between uses.  Remake every three days.
  • Rosemary contains carnosic acid. One scientific study found that it protects the retina from toxins and de-generation. Carnosic acid fights free radicals. Use the leaves for making a tea. Boil two tablespoons of rosemary in 8oz of distilled water for ten minutes.  Cool to room temperature before use. Refrigerate between uses.  Remake every three days.

     One can use either fresh herbs or good quality tea bags to make the eye wash.  If using herbal tinctures always dilute with distilled water as most tinctures are made with alcohol. When using fresh herbs always strain  using a fine mesh strainer as any particle left in the wash can enter the eye and cause further irritation. Use a fresh cotton ball for each eye as infections can be passed from eye to eye.  Your hands should be washed both before and after applying compresses as infections can be passed from animal to animal as well as from pet to human.  Hold the compress to the irritated eye for as long as possible, five to ten minutes if the pet will allow.  Using the Tellington Touch before  and during application will calm the pet.  Apply up to three times daily until the irritation is healed.

To help sooth eyes between daily treatments, place a drop of cod liver oil onto the eye’s surface. Cod liver oil is especially good for animals suffering from dry eye.

*Research each treatment especially when using with cats as cats react differently than canines to different chemicals.

In the next blog, I’ll explore the use of homeopathy for eye problems in our pets.  Please share your comments and sign-up to receive future blog entries.

 

 

The American Society of Animal Naturopathy is now offering a free Introduction to Naturopathy class.  To receive the class email us at animalsnatural@gmail.com.

If you’d like to learn more about both wild and domestic canines, Visit the All Things Canid website.

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