Welcome To Our Complete Guide To Conjunctivitis In Dogs.
Is This Common Human Condition Something That Our Pets Can Suffer From Too?
What Are The Symptoms of Conjunctivitis In Dogs?
And What Should We Do When We Spot Them?
Let’s Find Out!
This article is all about dog eye discharge.
While it is hardly an appetizing subject, it is important to know the difference between harmless dog eye boogers, and dog eye yellow discharge, or even more alarmingly, a dog with green eye discharge.
So, lets dive right in and find the answers to such questions as can dogs get conjunctivitis?
Where should you go to get antibiotic eye drops for dogs?
And can you get pink eye from a dog?
What is Conjunctivitis in Dogs – Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?
Conjunctivitis in dogs is an eye infection, also known as dog “pink eye”.
It is a relatively common infection amongst dogs and cats.
In fact, one study of 31,484 dogs in the US found that 3% had conjunctivitis.
That might not sound like many, but if you crunch some numbers, that is almost 950 dogs!
The ’conjunctiva’ is the mucous membrane that covers the white of the eye and the eyelids.
It acts as a barrier which helps prevent the eye from becoming infected.
When this membrane becomes infected and inflamed, it is called ‘conjunctivitis’.
There are numerous reasons why the conjunctiva can become inflamed.
Allergies, foreign objects and certain viral or bacterial infections are the most common causes.
Dog Eye Infection Symptoms
Conjunctivitis in dogs is sometimes only present in one eye, but it is possible for the infection to spread to both eyes.
If the infection is the result of a virus, the conjunctivitis is likely to be present in both eyes.
Symptoms may include discharge from the eye (pussy or clear), redness of the eye, swelling of the conjunctiva (making the white of the eye/s look swollen and jelly like), and discomfort.
Your dog may be squinting, blinking a lot, or scratching at their eyes.
While the above symptoms may well indicate that your pooch has conjunctivitis, your vet will need to do further investigations to work out what the cause of the infection is.
Conjunctivitis in Dogs – What are the causes?
As we have mentioned, goopy eyes in dogs is usually a symptom of some underlying injury or illness.
Your vet may want to perform a series of tests to determine the cause of the infection.
They may also ask some questions about the time leading up to the infection to help establish what the cause could be.
If the conjunctivitis is present in one eye only, potential causes include: a foreign body such as a grass seed or grit, a blocked or infected tear duct, or dry eye (when the conjunctiva is too dry).
If the conjunctivitis is present in both eyes, then a virus could be the cause.
While there are a number of viruses that could be to blame, commonly canine herpesvirus is the culprit.
If your dog’s eye/s have puss coming out of them, it could mean that a bacterial infection is also involved.
Oftentimes the bacterial infection is not the root cause of pink eye.
Rather, it takes hold after the conjunctiva is injured or irritated.
Another possible cause is parasitic infections.
One example of this is leishmaniosis. Leishmaniosis can be lethal if it attacks the internal organs and is left untreated.
If the parasite attacks the mucosa (such as the conjunctiva) it can leave permanent scars.
Leishmaniosis is present in tropical and subtropical regions and can be passed on to humans.
Other causes could be environmental irritants or structural defects of the eyelid.
My Dog’s Eyes are Red – Should I Take Him to the Vet?
The short answer is yes—it is always a good idea to take your pooch to the vet if their eyes are red, inflamed and goopy.
Like us humans, each dog will react differently to pain, so even if your dog does not appear to be uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean he is feeling on top of things!
Because conjunctivitis in dogs can be a symptom of a number of illnesses, it is also important to make sure any underlying issues are treated.
Dog Conjunctivitis Treatment
If the cause of conjunctivitis in dogs is a foreign body or some other type of irritant, then this will need to be removed.
When the irritant is present in your dog’s living environment, you will need to make a plan to ensure your dog isn’t exposed to this allergen.
If the cause is bacterial or viral in nature, after your veterinarian has determined which bacteria or virus is to blame, they will administer the appropriate antibiotic or antiviral agent.
Treatments are usually either administered orally, (such as tablets) or topically, (such as creams or eye drops) depending on which treatment is appropriate.
Can I Get Dog Conjunctivitis Treatments Over the Counter? Can You Use Human Eye Drops on Dogs?
While there are treatments that you can buy which do not require a prescription from your vet, and some may seem to be the same as human eye drops, it is strongly advised that you consult your veterinarian before you treat your dog.
Your vet may use a simple solution such as saline, or tear replacements, to treat your dog’s eye problems after a proper diagnosis has been made.
However, as there is such a wide variety of reasons your dog may have developed conjunctivitis, the root cause should really be established.
Sadly, in some cases, the underlying causes can be fatal if left untreated.
Even if the outcome if not that dramatic, your dog could be left scarred or vision impaired if the condition is not treated quickly and appropriately.
Dog Eye Infection Treatment – What You May Need to Do to Help Your Pooch Recover
The first step should be to take your dog to the vet.
Once your veterinarian has diagnosed the condition, it is important to follow their directions.
This may include administering medication topically or orally, or applying dog eye infection drops.
It is important to carefully monitor your pooch, and if the condition is not improving over time, then another trip to the vet is in order.
In this article, we will not be suggesting that you use any type of dog conjunctivitis home remedy.
Treating conjunctivitis in dogs without a proper assessment by a veterinarian can put the health of your dog at great risk.
Could I Catch Conjunctivitis from My Dog?
Generally, it is unlikely that you will catch conjunctivitis from your dog.
If a virus or a parasite is the cause of the conjunctivitis, however, the chance of catching the underlying cause of the pink eye cannot be discounted.
For instance, leishmaniosis and toxocariasis are both parasitic infections which can cause conjunctivitis and can be spread to humans.
For this reason, it is important to your dog to the vet to determine the cause of the infection.
Because conjunctivitis in dogs results in your dog’s eye weeping, catching the underlying infection from this fluid is possible.
So, keeping your dog’s bedding and living areas clean is a good idea.
Measures You Can Take to Prevent Dog Eye Infection
A study in 2009 found dogs that freely roamed outside and had contact with other dogs were more likely to contract viruses that can lead to conjunctivitis.
In particular, contact with the secretions of other dogs was a risk factor, so dogs that were not neutered were at higher risk of contracting such infections.
Therefore, containing your dog in a yard, neutering your pooch (if they are not specifically for breeding), and ensuring that your pup has all the routine vaccinations will help reduce the risk of your dog contracting conjunctivitis.
If your dog has long hair, regular grooming will help prevent eye irritation caused by hair, and prevent foreign bodies that get stuck in their coat ending up in their eyes.
Will My Dog Make a Full Recovery?
The answer to this question depends largely on how advanced the infection is, and how hard it is to treat the underlying cause.
While most cases are easily resolved with the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment, sometimes dogs can be left with sight problems, scars, and in rare cases, may even require their eye/s to be removed.
If the underlying cause of the infection isn’t treated appropriately, the outcome can be lethal.
So proper diagnosis and treatment can’t be stressed enough.
Dog Eye Discharge – Special Cases and Dogs at Risk
Brachycephalic dogs are at higher risk of developing ophthalmologic issues.
According to one study released in 2017, brachycephalic dogs have a 10.8% chance of developing conjunctivitis, compared to a 7.76% chance of the condition developing in non-brachycephalic dogs.
Puppies are also at a greater risk of contracting certain parasitic infections which can lead to conjunctivitis.
Your dog may also be at greater risk of developing conjunctivitis if they live outside and are in contact with other dogs, if they have long hair, if certain viruses and parasites are known to be in your area and if your dog is generally in poor health.
Conjunctivitis in Dogs
When a dog is suffering from conjunctivitis, his eyes will likely look rather nasty. And he will likely not be a very happy camper.
But if you get your pooch to the vet quickly, the prognosis is fairly good.
We hope you have found this article helpful.
If you have any other questions that were not covered in this article, feel free to comment. And don’t forget to share this article if you think it could be of help to others!
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