Conjunctivitis in Dogs – Recognize, Treat & Prevent

Conjunctivitis is one of the most common diseases in dogs. Some dog breeds even have a special predisposition to it due to anatomical or genetic characteristics. But most conjunctivitis is not a problem as long as it is treated quickly and efficiently. Read more about preventive measures, how to recognize conjunctivitis and what to do in this case.

How does conjunctivitis occur in dogs?

The dog’s eyes, like humans, are protected by eyelids. Inside they are lined with a mucous membrane. This is the conjunctiva. Inflammation of the conjunctiva is called conjunctivitis in veterinary jargon.

Foreign bodies in the eye are the most common causes of irritation and, as a result, inflamed conjunctiva. These can be allergy-triggering substances such as pollen or dust. But drafts also irritate the eyes. Contagious conjunctivitis in dogs occurs when it is caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites.

In addition, special breeding characteristics promote inflammation of the eyes. These include the big wide eyes of pugs, French bulldogs, and boxers. The genetically determined eyelid gap of these breeds can be too small or too large, too wide or too narrow. Hairy eyelid edges, such as those found in bloodhounds and cocker spaniels, are often to blame for conjunctivitis.

What is conjunctivitis in dogs?

The most obvious signs of sore eyes are discharge, swelling, and redness. The eye discharge can be clear and liquid, or slimy to purulent-yellow and sticky. In viral infections, such as the herpes virus, small blisters form that are extremely painful, stinging, and itchy for dogs.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs include:

  • The animal tries to rub its eye or scratch with its claws.
  • The dog blinks frequently and closes its eyes vigorously.
  • The eyes may water or produce some other (purulent) discharge.
  • The eyes may be red and sensitive to light.

How is conjunctivitis in dogs treated?

Depending on the diagnosed cause and the extent of conjunctivitis, the treatment varies. In most cases, uncomplicated conjunctivitis caused by drafts or dust can be treated quickly and easily by the vet with special eye drops. You can treat mild inflammation with clear and non-purulent discharge with an eyebright complex. For a quick diagnosis, you can simply contact the experienced veterinarians at Dr. food bowl turn. Our veterinary team will advise you online during business hours without stress and usually without waiting times. The veterinarians examine your dog’s eyes via video chat. You will receive an immediate health assessment and well-founded advice for further treatment – for example with eyebright complex. Visiting a veterinary practice is only necessary if inpatient treatment is required for your darling.

In the case of long-lasting or even chronic conjunctivitis in dogs, a visit to the veterinarian is strongly recommended, especially if the eye starts to suppurate. The vet will first prescribe eye drops, eye ointment, or eye gel, which usually contain an antibiotic agent. Bacteria are also often a side effect of non-bacterial inflammation.

In the case of inflammation caused by fungi or spores, antimycotics (antifungal agents) are used. In this case, you should seek the advice of a veterinarian.

If your dog suffers from severe allergies and possibly other symptoms, hyposensitization can be worthwhile. This is a long-term therapy in which the dog becomes accustomed to the allergy-causing substances so that, with optimal progress, no symptoms appear over time.

In the worst case, surgical interventions are necessary, especially if foreign bodies or parasites have to be removed from the eye. Ticks, for example, like to nest in the eye. In this case, removing the parasite with conventional tools such as tick tweezers is difficult if not impossible. If remnants of the tick remain in the eye, serious inflammation can develop.

The duration of conjunctivitis in dogs varies accordingly. It can be cured after a few days without complications, but it can also take weeks, especially in the case of serious infections.

How can you prevent conjunctivitis in dogs?

You should avoid known triggers such as pollen or grass, especially in dogs that are sensitive to allergies. A healthy diet and a strong immune system reduce the likelihood of inflammation. Likewise, your dog’s basket or favorite corner should not be exposed to permanent drafts or air conditioning.

Small breeds that have their heads close to the ground often have sore eyes. Treat them preventively with mild special dog eye drops and washes that you can get in the animal pharmacy or at Fressnapf.

In the case of race-related malformations of the eyelid, only an operation against chronically inflamed eyes can help. You can find more information about dog eyes in the Fressnapf guide to caring for your eyes.

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