Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition that affects dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes. The condition occurs when the conjunctiva (the pinkish tissue at the edge of the eyeball) becomes inflamed and swollen.
This painful condition can be unpleasant for your dog and if left untreated can cause serious damage to the eye. Read on to learn about the symptoms, causes and treatment of conjunctivitis.
Causes of Conjunctivitis
Typically, conjunctivitis is the result of bacterial or viral infection. The condition can also arise as the result of tumors in the conjunctiva, breed-specific genetic weakness (as is true in collies that are prone to episcleritis), eyelid abnormalities or trauma to the eye. Hereditary conditions are often to blame and it bears noting that puppies can contract this condition before their eyes even open.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
Symptoms of conjunctivitis include discharge from the eyes, obvious pain in the area, squinting, blinking rapidly, redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, thick mucus and nasal discharge or even sneezing and coughing.
Conjunctivitis typically only affects one of the dog’s eyes, but it is possible for them to contract conjunctivitis in both eyes at once. Pet parents who notice any of these signs should take their dog to their veterinarian immediately.
IMPORTANT: Any condition affecting the eye should be seen promptly by your veterinarian.
When a dog presents with a case of suspected conjunctivitis, the vet’s main concern will be to determine what is causing the condition, as this will affect the course of treatment. In order to ascertain the cause of the conjunctivitis, the vet will complete an extensive eye exam in which all structures and functions of the eye will be evaluated. The vet may also perform corneal stain tests to ensure that the cornea is working properly.
Treatment for Conjunctivitis
Again, the treatment for conjunctivitis depends largely on the cause. Topical and oral medications can be used to reduce infection and inflammation. Dogs that have secondary conjunctivitis may receive antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication to resolve the condition or require medications that promote the production of tears. If the conjunctivitis has been caused by eyelid or eyelash abnormalities, surgery may be required.
Prognosis for Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is relatively common in dogs and when it is diagnosed and treated quickly, the prognosis is good. Unfortunately, dogs with severe or chronic conjunctivitis may have less optimistic prognoses and may require surgery or extensive treatment to resolve the issue.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.