Is your dog rubbing its eyes? Eyes appear red or have discharged? Then your dog may have conjunctivitis. That’s often not a bad thing. It can be treated well. Nevertheless, you should act quickly so that the inflammation does not worsen. How do you recognize conjunctivitis in your dog? What can you do about it? And how you can prevent inflammation? We will tell you in this article.
What is Conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the mucous membrane in your dog’s eyes. Doctors call this conjunctivitis. The conjunctiva that covers the back of the eyelids and parts of the eyeball is affected. This mucous membrane is often irritated by an external influence. This could be lint, for example. Or an eyelash, a speck of dust, even a particularly strong perfume. As soon as the mucous membrane is irritated, it is supplied with more blood. This serves as a defense against the perceived stimulus. The mucous membrane is inflamed. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can often settle more easily on an already inflamed conjunctiva. This causes the inflammation to worsen.
What Causes Conjunctivitis in Dogs?
Many factors can promote conjunctivitis in your dog. An important factor is, for example, drafts. If your dog gets a lot of drafts, the eyes are generally dry and a little irritated. Inflammation can develop quickly. In addition, many small particles, such as pollen and dust, can get into your dog’s eyes through the draft. The breed of your dog can also be a deciding factor. Some breeds, such as pugs and French bulldogs, for example, have particularly large eyes and therefore a particularly large area for attack. Other breeds, such as Boxers and St. Bernards, have “hanging eyes” so much of their mucous membrane is exposed to the environment. Still, other breeds like the bloodhound and cocker spaniel have hairy eyelids. As a result, it often happens that hair gets into the eye and irritates the conjunctiva.
Allergies also promote the development of conjunctivitis in dogs. The conjunctiva can be irritated by the perception of an allergen (allergy-causing substance) in the eye. In addition, due to the generally high immune activity associated with an allergy, a kind of overreaction in the eye can quickly occur as soon as a supposed intruder is perceived. The immune system is generally weakened by allergies. This allows bacteria, viruses, and fungi to settle better in the mucous membrane in your dog’s eyes.
What are the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis?
Fortunately, conjunctivitis can be recognized quite quickly. Several symptoms can occur with conjunctivitis. But not all of them have to occur. This depends on the severity of the inflammation and who is causing the inflammation.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, your dog could have conjunctivitis:
- Your dog scratches his eye with his paws or rubs his eyes on you or objects such as the couch.
- Your dog is blinking more than usual or squinting.
- Your dog’s eyes are watering more than usual.
- You find discharge in or under your dog’s eye.
- Your dog’s eyes are red.
- Your dog seems to be more sensitive to light than usual.
- Your dog’s eyelids are swollen.
What to do with Conjunctivitis in Dogs?
Depending on how advanced the conjunctivitis is and what causes it, there are different treatment options. The following measures can be useful:
Eye drops, ointments, or gels
In the case of mild conjunctivitis, which is often caused by slight irritation, eye drops, ointments, or gels are often sufficient. These can be prescribed by the vet or purchased at the pharmacy. Depending on the reason for conjunctivitis, the eye drops can be caring, moisturizing, or anti-inflammatory. Antibiotic substances are also often present in eye drops, as many cases of conjunctivitis in dogs are associated with bacterial infestation.
Our tip: In the case of mild inflammation or if you cannot go straight to the vet, we recommend eye drops with Euphrasia (“eyebright”) for dogs. You can easily buy these in the pharmacy. These drops should not be missing in any household as part of the emergency pharmacy.