Conjunctivitis in dogs - Treatment, causes and symptoms

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Conjunctivitis in dogs It is an eye condition characterized by inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids. Sometimes, in addition to inflammation, it can be accompanied by an infection. We are going to distinguish it because normally the eyes of our dogs will be red, teary or with rye.

Canine conjunctivitis does not always happen as an isolated case, so that sometimes it will be part of the symptoms of a disease developed in the animal. At AnimalWised we give you the keys to learn how to detect conjunctivitis in your dog and you know how to treat it.

You may also be interested in: Conjunctivitis in Cats - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Index
  1. Types of conjunctivitis in dogs
  2. Causes of canine conjunctivitis
  3. Symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs
  4. Dogs more prone to conjunctivitis
  5. How to cure conjunctivitis in dogs: treatment
  6. How long does conjunctivitis last in dogs?
  7. Home remedies for conjunctivitis in dogs
  8. How to prevent conjunctivitis in dogs?
  9. Can conjunctivitis in dogs spread to humans??

Types of conjunctivitis in dogs

First of all, ¿What is conjunctivitis in dogs? As we have already advanced, conjunctivitis is inflammation of the eye conjunctiva and is characterized by producing redness and discharge. It is not a disease in itself, but a symptom that can occur as a result of a more serious problem. Likewise, it can be infectious or not, depending on the cause that originated it. In this way, the following are distinguished types of conjunctivitis in dogs:

  • Allergic conjunctivitis. As an allergic reaction to virtually any allergen, the conjunctiva can become inflamed and irritated, causing increased tear secretion, redness, and itching..
  • Viral conjunctivitis. Some viruses, such as the one that causes canine distemper, can affect the eyes and produce a very annoying mucopurulent conjunctivitis. Being a virus, this conjunctivitis is contagious and, for the most part, is part of the symptoms of more or less serious diseases.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis. It is also contagious because bacteria are responsible for this type of conjunctivitis in dogs. Sometimes they are opportunistic bacteria that proliferate as the animal's immune system is weakened by the development of some pathology.
  • Foreign body conjunctivitis. The intrusion of foreign bodies into the eye, such as dust, plants or an eyelash, can irritate and inflame the conjunctiva, developing conjunctivitis. It is not contagious and will remit as soon as the foreign body is eliminated.

It is important to note that we should not confuse a conjunctivitis with dry keratoconunctivitis, because, although they are similar, we are dealing with different eye conditions. Also known as dry eye, keratoconjunctivitis sicca affects the tear glands causing them to produce a minimal amount of tears and thus causing serious dry eyes. This dryness causes the eye to present a thick and mucopurulent discharge. To learn about other eye infections that can be confused with conjunctivitis, see this article: "Eye infection in dogs - Causes and treatment ".

Image: case of allergic conjunctivitis

Causes of canine conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis in dogs can be due both to an eventual problem, which only affects the eye itself, and to an older one and thus become a symptom of another pathology:

  1. When we talk about a specific problem which is only related to the eye, we refer to allergies, some foreign body that while playing in the park could damage it (plants), dry eyes or when some part of its anatomy is not well at all (eyelid malformation, ulcers , tabs...).
  2. However, conjunctivitis in dogs can also appear as cause of diseases more serious such as distemper or hepatitis.
  3. Finally, other causes of conjunctivitis in dogs are bacterial or viral infections, as we have seen in the previous section.

Regardless of what is the cause that causes this annoying problem for our dog, it will be easy to spot, since it will be quite scandalous to see our dog with his red eye, or with more tears than normal. Therefore, before any indication, the first thing will be go to a vet to diagnose the cause, as well as the corresponding treatment. In parallel, we can consult the most common eye diseases in dogs to observe in which conjunctivitis appears as a symptom..

It is logical to think that if only one of the eyes is bad, something specific must have happened to that eye. If our dog has been playing among bushes and bushes where he has put his nose, he will also have put his eye and, with all probability, that is the cause of conjunctivitis. However, if both are affected, there is a greater chance that our dog will suffer from any other problem.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs

To be able to identify canine conjunctivitis, it is essential know the symptoms that your dog will present, the following being the most common:

  • Difficulty opening the affected eye. Remember that this condition, if it is not the cause of another major pathology, usually appears first in one of the eyes.
  • Eye redness. As it is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, it becomes irritated and causes redness.
  • Rejection of the light. See if your dog seeks to take refuge in the dimmer parts of your house.
  • Excessive tearing. In most cases the excessively watery eye is accompanied by an annoying itchiness, so your dog will scratch frequently. If so, it is essential that you avoid scratching, as it could cause internal injuries with the nails.
  • Yellowish or greenish purulent discharge. This symptom will appear in cases of infectious conjunctivitis, more serious, or in those dogs that develop this condition because of another pathology, such as the aforementioned distemper.

If your dog has any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to take him to the vet.

Dogs more prone to conjunctivitis

There are dog breeds that, for hereditary reasons, are more prone to eye inflammation than others. So much the poodle What the cocker They are breeds prone to hereditary causes and their prevention can only be carried out with a very early examination. Likewise, it will require more specific eye care throughout the life of our dog..

In addition to the previous races, the pug and the pekingese Due to the conformation of their skull, they are more exposed to all the weather conditions and, in general, to all the elements with which they are related in their lives. For example, when they sniff, they are more likely to get foreign bodies into their eyes and cause conjunctivitis. Therefore, you also have to be more careful with your eyes and consult with your veterinarian how we should clean them daily..

How to cure conjunctivitis in dogs: treatment

Curing conjunctivitis in dogs is a simple process, as long as it is not a symptom of any disease. Thus, when we are facing a case of allergic or foreign body conjunctivitis, the treatment will involve cleaning the dog's eyes with saline several times a day..

Now, when it comes to bacterial or viral conjunctivitis in dogs, mostly the product of other more serious diseases, it will be necessary to administer another type of topical treatment that can only be stipulated and prescribed by a veterinarian. In general, they are used Topical antibiotics for conjunctivitis in dogs, that is, in cream or in the form of drops, in order to reduce conjunctival inflammation and fight viruses or bacteria. The frequency of administration should also be marked by the specialist depending on the severity of the conjunctivitis..

¿I can use a people eye drops for dogs?

The answer is do not. To treat and cure conjunctivitis in dogs, it is necessary to use an antibiotic eye drops for dogs prescribed by a veterinarian. We should not use drugs designed for humans or self-medicate our dog, since, by not knowing the exact cause of the problem, we can considerably worsen the situation. Likewise, if our dog is prone to this type of eye condition and we already have drops for conjunctivitis in dogs from previous situations in our medicine cabinet, we must check the expiration date and consult with the veterinarian if it is possible to use them again, since that, as we have seen, the causes are very diverse.

How long does conjunctivitis last in dogs?

It is impossible to establish a generic duration period, since it is the cause of canine conjunctivitis which will determine the recovery time. Thus, if the dog has conjunctivitis due to allergies or foreign bodies, by removing the allergen or the object that has inflamed the conjunctiva, it can recover in a maximum of 24 hours. On the other hand, if it is a bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, it can last days or weeks, depending on the pathogen agent.

In any case, it is necessary to follow the treatment established by the veterinarian to cure conjunctivitis in dogs as soon as possible. Interrupting the treatment is not appropriate, even if a notable improvement is observed or, on the contrary, the dog does not improve. In both cases, the specialist should be contacted to determine how to proceed..

Home remedies for conjunctivitis in dogs

If we do not have saline solution, we can use a series of home remedies to treat canine conjunctivitis. Of course, these natural treatments will be effective in cases of mild conjunctivitis, such as that caused by foreign bodies or allergic. When we are facing a bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, without the administration of antibiotics we will not eliminate it, so the remedies will be a complement but not the solution. That said, the most effective remedies are:

  • Chamomile infusion
  • Thyme infusion
  • Cold and warm compresses

Do not miss this article to learn how to use them and learn more recommended remedies: "Natural treatments for conjunctivitis in dogs ".

How to prevent conjunctivitis in dogs?

To prevent both eye infections or inflammations and any eye disease in dogs, it is important to maintain good cleaning habits ocular, that your dog has a good diet that strengthens all its organs and in case there is hair that obstructs vision, it should be removed to prevent the dirt that accumulates the fur from entering the eyes.

On the other hand, because conjunctivitis in dogs can be viral, it is also important vaccinate the puppy following the veterinarian's instructions in order to avoid possible contagion of the most common pathologies. In adult dogs, it will be the specialist who determines if it is necessary to vaccinate again and how often.

Can conjunctivitis in dogs spread to humans??

The truth is that bacterial and viral conjunctivitis can be transmitted to humans depending on the virus or bacteria that causes it. Some of these agents can affect dogs, cats and people, that is why, in case of detecting signs of this type of conjunctivitis in dogs, it is prices to visit the specialist as soon as possible in order not only to avoid contagion, but also to treat the animal and ensure its speedy recovery.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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