Have you noticed that your dog’s eyes are red and watering excessively? Does he have difficulty opening one or both eyes because of the tearing? You are probably facing a case of conjunctivitis, which is quite frequent. That is why, from Las Almenas we want to explain you the symptoms, causes and treatments of conjunctivitis in dogs. This way you will be able to detect this problem as soon as possible so that your veterinarian can determine the most appropriate treatment.
Fortunately, it is very unusual for conjunctivitis in dogs to cause permanent vision problems, but while it lasts, it is really annoying. Whether or not you believe that the conjunctivitis your dog is suffering from is more or less serious, it always requires a diagnosis by the veterinarian, since there are different causes and each one has its own treatment. Keep reading and you will learn the keys to conjunctivitis in dogs.
What is conjunctivitis in dogs?
The conjunctiva is a mucous and transparent membrane that covers the entire front of the eyes, the inside and the edges of the eyelids. When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed is when we say that there is conjunctivitis in dogs.
This inflammation can be accompanied by an infection, and conjunctivitis in dogs is not always an isolated case, but can be part of the symptomatology of a disease that the animal has and that must be diagnosed.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs
In order to identify if your dog has conjunctivitis, you should pay attention to the most common symptoms. Not all of them need to appear, it can be just one or it can be several at the same time. In any case, the detection of any of these symptoms is reason enough to go to the vet:
- Ocular redness.
This is one of the symptoms par excellence of conjunctivitis in dogs. When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, it becomes irritated and produces this redness.
- Excessive tearing.
In most cases of conjunctivitis in dogs, the eyes look excessively watery.
It is very common for the eyes to itch and, as a result, the dog scratches frequently. So, try to keep his nails short to avoid internal injuries.
- Difficulty opening the eye or both eyes.
Due to swelling of the eyelids or excessive crusts and crusts, the dog may have trouble opening his eyes wide.
- Light hypersensitivity.
See if your dog avoids places with a lot of light and looks for darker corners of the house. And if he is forced to expose himself to light, he will close his eyes to avoid it.
- Yellow or greenish purulent discharge.
In the most severe cases of conjunctivitis in dogs, the eyes may ooze yellowish or greenish fluid. This symptom is also the cause of another pathology, such as distemper (https://almenas.es/el-moquillo-en-los-perros-sintomas-y-tratamiento/ ). As you can imagine, a visit to the veterinarian in these cases is urgent.
Types and causes of conjunctivitis in dogs
Inflammation of the conjunctiva may or may not be infectious, it may occur as a consequence of a more serious problem… Thus, we can distinguish different types of conjunctivitis in dogs:
Due to the allergic reaction to any allergen, the conjunctiva can become inflamed and irritated. This results in tear discharge, redness and itching in one or both eyes.
Foreign body conjunctivitis.
If while playing in the park, a foreign body gets into the eye, such as dust, an eyelash, a piece of leaf, etc., the conjunctiva can become inflamed, developing conjunctivitis. In this case, it is not a contagious conjunctivitis, since when the foreign body that bothers you is eliminated, the inflammation will subside.
In many occasions, when the dog’s immune system is weak, due to another pathology, opportunistic bacteria proliferate causing conjunctivitis. In this case it is contagious, so it is advisable to be extremely hygienic.
Some viruses, as is the case of distemper, which we have already mentioned, can affect the eyes and produce very annoying and sticky secretions. This type of conjunctivitis in dogs is contagious and, for the most part, is part of the symptomatology of more serious diseases.
Dry keratoconjunctivitis or dry eye syndrome.
In this case it is not a conjunctivitis as such, although it is very similar. This pathology affects the lacrimal glands, cornea and conjunctiva, causing them to produce few tears, which, in turn, produces a severe ocular dryness that causes the eye to present a thick and purulent secretion. This condition may also be related to other diseases, but it is definitely not a type of conjunctivitis.
Can conjunctivitis in humans be contagious?
It is true that certain viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be transmitted to humans, but this depends on the virus or bacterium that causes conjunctivitis in dogs. Some of the infectious agents can affect other dogs, cats and even people, but this is something your veterinarian will explain to you when diagnosing the type of conjunctivitis.
Diagnosis of conjunctivitis in dogs
As soon as you detect some of the symptoms, the most appropriate thing to do is to go to the veterinarian to diagnose the type of conjunctivitis the dog is suffering from and the most appropriate treatment. Treatment that we will have to follow to the letter, until it is finished, even when we see that the dog improves.
It is logical to think that if it only affects one of the eyes it is because something has happened specifically in that eye. So, if the dog has been playing in the bushes, in all probability, that is the cause of the conjunctivitis. However, if both eyes are affected, there is a greater chance that the dog is suffering from some other problem.
However, to be sure, we insist on the need to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible to start treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment of conjunctivitis in dogs
The treatment of conjunctivitis in dogs depends on the cause of the conjunctival inflammation.
Thus, if it is a mild irritation from dust or something similar, rinsing the eye may be sufficient. If an object needs to be removed, it should be taken to the veterinarian for careful removal and, if necessary, eye drops can be administered after removal.
In case the conjunctivitis in dogs is due to bacterial infection, the veterinarian may prescribe ophthalmologic antibiotics and if it is due to fungal infection, the treatment will be with fungicides.
Thus, your veterinarian may prescribe:
- Specific ocular cleansers. You will have to use them very carefully, applying them with gauze, if necessary, but no cotton wool, since the fibers can remain in the eyes.
- Topical eye drops and ointments. They are applied on the eye. To be really effective you will have to administer them with the frequency and duration indicated by the veterinarian.
- Oral or injectable treatments. Also in these cases you will have to follow the indications of your veterinarian to get rid of conjunctivitis in dogs.
- Surgical treatment. In certain cases, such as the annoying hairs inside the eyelids (distichiasis, trichiasis) should be removed by laser treatment or surgically.
In addition, if you see that your dog scratches excessively because of the itching of conjunctivitis, it may be necessary to put an Elizabethan collar, so you will avoid damaging his eyes or creating ulcers when he tries to scratch to relieve himself.
Beware of home remedies and self-medication.
There is a popular belief that cleaning the dog with herbal teas and other home remedies is a good way to treat conjunctivitis in dogs, but in reality, this can only cause more irritation and discomfort to the dog’s conjunctiva. It is better to use saline solution and strictly follow the instructions and treatment recommended by your veterinarian.
You cannot use eye drops or medications designed for humans either. Only veterinary prescription drugs should be used. And if you have in your medicine cabinet any eye drops from previous episodes of conjunctivitis in dogs, check the expiration date and ask your veterinarian if it is possible to use them again.
Prevention is always better
As always, prevention is essential for healthy dogs. For this reason, in our dog breeder in Las Almenas we follow the health recommendations in terms of vaccination, as well as hygiene habits and a healthy and balanced diet. All this is essential to guarantee the present and future health of your furry friend.
We hope that all the information about conjunctivitis in dogs has been useful for you and remember that in no case you should medicate your pet without the recommendation of your veterinarian.
And if you have any question you want to comment or ask, you can write us here below or on our profiles on Facebook, Instagram and on our Las Almenas YouTube channel. Also in our blog we will continue giving you healthy tips because you know that in Las Almenas we care about the health of our puppies since before they are born and we work every day to get healthy and happy dogs . If you also want to be part of this great family, just contact us, we are waiting for you!