Conjunctivitis is an itchy eye condition that can cause irreversible damage to your pup's eyes if left untreated. Our South Florida vets share some of the causes, symptoms and treatments for this relatively common eye disease in dogs.
Conjunctivitis in Dogs
Conjunctivitis is a relatively common infection of the mucous membrane over your dog's eye and eyelids called the ‘conjunctiva’. Conjunctiva is very similar to the lining of the nose or mouth: it acts as the eye's protective barrier against bacteria and debris. The membrane becoming infected or swollen is conjunctivitis, more commonly known as 'pink eye.'
Causes Of Conjunctivitis In Dogs
Conjunctivitis in dogs can be caused by a number of issues:
What Are The Symptoms Of Conjunctivitis In Dogs?
Conjunctivitis is an uncomfortable condition that might cause your dog to paw at their eye or blink or squint excessively. You may also see a clear or green-tinted discharge from the affected eye. Your dog's eyelids or the area surrounding their eye could grow red and swollen.
Typically with conjunctivitis, it will start in one eye and then quickly spread to the other through contamination. In the instance where allergies or viral infection are the cause of irritation, however, both eyes may be affected from the start.
If your dog is showing signs of conjunctivitis, even mild, contact your vet as soon as possible. Left untreated, conjunctivitis can lead to permanent eye damage or even blindness.
Treating Conjunctivitis In Dogs
The best treatment for your dog's conjunctivitis will vary depending on the reason for the condition. Following a thorough eye examination your vet can identify the cause and the best treatment for your dog.
If your dog's conjunctivitis is caused by bacterial infection, your vet will typically prescribe you antibiotics. If allergies are the suspected cause, you may alternatively be given an antihistamine to help make your dog's eyes be more comfortable. Foreign bodies attached to and irritating your dog's eye will be removed surgically or while the dog is under anesthesia.
Some dogs suffer from conjunctivitis caused by a blocked tear duct, in which case surgery and subsequent eye drops/antibiotics are needed.
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 I Catch Conjunctivitis From My Dog?
It's unlikely that you will catch conjunctivitis from your canine companion, but if your dog's eye condition is caused by a parasite like roundworms, it is possible.
Will My Dog Recover Completely?
Most dogs will make a full recovery from conjunctivitis if treated promptly. It is important to note that early treatment is essential for avoiding complications due to conjunctivitis. In rare cases, dogs can be left with scarring on the eye and/or vision problems due to the affects of the infection.
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.