The eye is the fastest-healing organ in the human body but it is also one that is open and often experiences problems with infection and other issues. This is true in all animals, including in dogs. One of the issues that can occur with dogs is conjunctivitis, sometimes referred to as pinkeye. This can either be a one-time problem or some dogs may suffer from it on an ongoing basis. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to correct the issue.
Conjunctivitis affects a specific part of the eye known as the conjunctiva. This is the moist outer tissue that is over the surface of the eyeball and it is also the tissue that lines the eyelids as well. Various issues can occur with the conjunctiva that could lead to conjunctivitis. Recognizing the issue can assist you in providing the needed help so your dog can overcome the problem and be as comfortable as possible.
A number of symptoms may display themselves when your dog is suffering from conjunctivitis. This would include visual symptoms, such as redness around the moist areas of the eye. They may also have a swelling due to a buildup of fluids or a discharge from the eye that can either be clear or could contain pus. Some dogs may squint or blink rapidly when they have the problem due to the irritation. You may also notice follicle formation that resembles cobblestone on the eyelid surfaces.
Bacterial infections are one of the more common reasons why conjunctivitis occurs in dogs. It can either be a primary condition or it could be secondary to other conditions that affect the eye. Newborn puppies may sometimes suffer from neonatal conjunctivitis that is related to a bacterial infection. Viral infections are also possible, although less likely. Dogs may also suffer from conjunctivitis due to allergies and other irritations that affect the eye. Less common issues include cancer, trauma and conjunctivitis that is secondary to other conditions, such as anterior uveitis.
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms of conjunctivitis, it’s a good idea to seek the assistance of a veterinarian. They will look at the eye, check for any potential issues that are obvious and perhaps run some tests to see if there is damage to the eye that is leading to conjunctivitis. If a discharge is present, they may take a sample as well as a biopsy of conjunctiva cells to examine microscopically.
In most cases, conjunctivitis in dogs can be treated with medication or through lifestyle management. As an example, bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics and if allergies are suspected, modifications in food or exposure to potential allergies will be suggested. It may also be necessary to clean the eye regularly if discharge is present, especially before any medication is applied to the area.