Mar 14 2014

When Green is Not Good on St. Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. That means we’ll be seeing green everywhere. Green shirts, green hats and even green beer. Pets will be wearing green, too. Some of our patients have green bandanas and green collars to honor the day. Although green is generally good on St Patrick’s day, there are times when green is not good.

If your dog or cat has any of the following green signs, call your veterinarian:

  1. Green ocular discharge.  When eyes have yucky green discharge, it’s a sign of trouble. Green eye discharge can indicate the presence of an eye infection or a foreign body hidden under the third eyelid. Foreign bodies may cause painful scratches on the cornea. Prompt diagnosis of eye infections and removal of foreign bodies are important to alleviate pain and prevent permanent scarring of the cornea.
  2. Green nasal discharge.  If your dog or cat has a runny nose and the discharge is clear, that usually isn’t a problem, but if the discharge turns green it could mean that your pet has an upper respiratory tract infection. If the drainage is from only one nostril, chances are there may be a foreign body in the nasal passage. We’ve retrieved some interesting things from pet noses. One cat had a grass awn that migrated up his nose and a curious pup had an uncooked green pea in his nasal passage — he must have been trying really hard to smell that pea!
  3. Green vaginal discharge. Green vaginal discharge could be an indication of vaginitis, an easily treated inflammation of the female reproductive tract.  However, if a pregnant female emits a green vaginal discharge, it is a serious matter. Green discharge during pregnancy may mean that the placenta has separated from the uterine wall depriving the fetus of oxygen and blood supply. Quick delivery of the pups or kittens is necessary to prevent death of the babies. If you see green vaginal discharge in your pregnant dog or cat, call the emergency veterinary hospital at once.
  4. Green vomit. What a pleasant thought! Vomiting should always be reported to your veterinarian no matter what color it is. Green vomit could be caused by the ingested matter; for example, one of our canine patients threw up green grass the other day. It’s springtime and he thought he’d have a taste of the fresh vegetation. Sometimes when the stomach is empty, bile is the only thing that is thrown up. Bile is a sticky liquid with a yellow-green color.
  5. Green stool. Green stool, like green vomit, usually means that the dog or cat ate something unusual. One of our dachshund patients had bright, kelly green stool that shocked his owner. A little investigation revealed that Lucy ate the artificial berries from a wreath that was stowed under the bed. Green stool can also be a sign of more serious gastrointestinal disturbances such as pancreatic malfunction or digestive disorders. Report any suspicious bowel movements to your veterinarian and bring in a sample if you can.

I hope that your pet never experiences any of the above problems, but if you see strange green stuff, call your veterinarian.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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