Conjunctivitis is an itchy, uncomfortable eye condition that could cause damage to your dog's eye(s) if left untreated. Today, our Renton vets share some of the causes, symptoms and treatments for conjunctivitis, a fairly common condition in dogs.
Conjunctivitis In Dogs
Conjunctivitis is a relatively common infection of the mucous membrane which covers your dog's eye and eyelids called the ‘conjunctiva’. This mucous membrane is very similar to the lining of the nose or mouth and the purpose of the conjunctiva is to act as the eye's protective barrier against infections and foreign objects. When this membrane becomes infected or inflamed the condition is called conjunctivitis, or more commonly known as 'pink eye'.
Causes Of Conjunctivitis In Dogs
This condition in dogs can be caused by a number of issues such as allergies, irritation caused by foreign bodies in the eye, viral infections, tumors n, breed-specific conditions (e.g. nodular episcleritis in Collies) tear film deficiency, eye structural abnormalities, obstructed tear ducts, parasitic infections, injury to the eye, or an underlying eye condition such as glaucoma, ulcerative keratitis, or anterior uveitis.
Symptoms Of Conjunctivitis In Dogs
Conjunctivitis is an uncomfortable condition that may cause your dog to paw at their eye, blink, or squint. You might also see clear or greenish discharge from the affected eye or that the whites of the eyes, the eyelids or the area around your dog's eye are red and swollen.
Often conjunctivitis will start in one eye then quickly spread to the other through contamination, although in cases where allergies or or viral infection are the cause both eyes can be affected right from the start.
If your dog is showing signs of conjunctivitis, even if symptoms seem very mild, contact your vet as soon as possible. Left untreated conjunctivitis can lead to permanent eye damage.
Treating Conjunctivitis In Dogs
The treatment of choice for your dog's conjunctivitis will depend on what caused the condition's development in the first place. Following a thorough eye examination, your vet will determine the cause and the best treatment for your dog.
In cases where the cause of your dog's conjunctivitis is bacterial in nature, antibiotics and eyedrops are typically prescribed. If allergies are the suspected cause, your vet might prescribe an antihistamine to help make your dog's eyes more comfortable, or if there is a foreign body irritating your dog's eye your vet will remove it while your dog is under sedation or after your pet has been administered local anesthetic.
Some dogs suffer from conjunctivitis caused by a blocked tear duct in which case surgery followed by eye drops and antibiotics will be required.
If your dog is persistently pawing at their eyes while being treated it may be necessary to have them wear a cone or Elizabethan collar to prevent rubbing and allow the eye to heal.
Can My Dog Give Me Conjunctivitis?
Although it's unlikely that you will catch conjunctivitis from your canine companion, it is possible if the cause of your dog's eye condition is parasitic in origin (e.g. roundworms).
Will My Dog Make A Full Recovery From Conjunctivitis?
For the most part, dogs can recover fully from conjunctivitis, but it's important to note that early treatment is essential for avoiding complications due to the condition. In rare cases, dogs can be left with scarring on the eye and/or vision problems from conjunctivitis.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.