Conjunctivitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Diagnosis

Conjunctivitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Diagnosis

Causes of conjunctivitis in dogs

Often conjunctivitis in dogs is caused by changes in the eyelids. An eyelid opening that is too small or large, an eyelid that is folded in or out (ectropion or entropion), or hairs that grow on the edges of the eyelid, where there are normally none (distichiasis, trichiasis), cause irritation of the eye and subsequent inflammation of the conjunctiva (the transparent mucous membrane that covers the eyeball).

A contact allergy (allergic conjunctivitis), a foreign object such as a spike, trauma, viral infection, bacterial infection, or a parasitic infection, can also cause conjunctivitis. Young dogs sometimes develop lymphoid follicles at the back of the nictitating membrane and inflammation of the eye, known as follicular conjunctivitis. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca occurs when the lacrimal glands produce little tear fluid, which in turn causes inflammation of the eye.

If your dog is suffering from conjunctivitis in only one eye, a blocked or infected tear duct may be the cause of the infection. If this is the case, it is best to take your dog to the vet in order to receive proper treatment and prevent further damage to the eye. If left untreated, it can lead to secondary eye diseases and possible blindness or permanent damage.

Symptoms of Eye Inflammation in Dogs

One or both eyes may be affected if your dog has conjunctivitis. The main symptom of conjunctivitis is the redness of the conjunctiva. In addition, eye secretions may appear watery, mucous, purulent, or bloody. The affected eye often hurts the dog, which is manifested by squeezing the lids, blinking very frequently, or rubbing the lids with the paw. In severe inflammation, the conjunctiva swells so that the eye can hardly be seen. In chronic cases, blisters (follicles) may appear on the membrane that covers the eyeball.

The vet will do several tests to diagnose conjunctivitis in dogs. The first thing is to take a good look at the affected eye. It will evaluate the exact position of the eyelids and will look for malformations in them. Also, the severity of the symptoms can give clues to the cause and duration of the inflammation. Then, with the help of the Schirmer tear test, the veterinarian will check if the eye produces enough tear fluid.

To locate a foreign body or follicles behind the nictitating membrane, the eyelids can be raised with special tweezers and with great care to analyze the area behind the nictitating membrane. A smear can reveal whether bacteria, viruses, or fungi caused conjunctivitis. By administering fluorescein, a green dye, to the dog’s eye, the vet can determine if there is damage to the cornea and if the tear drainage pathways are okay.

In case of damage to the cornea, the greenish tint accumulates in the area of ​​the injury and appears greenish when the area is illuminated with a special light source. If tear fluid can pass unimpeded through the nasolacrimal duct, the green dye appears from the canine’s nostrils shortly after its application to the eye.

Conjunctivitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Diagnosis

Diagnosing Conjunctivitis In Dogs

A serious illness does not always cause conjunctivitis in your furry friend. However, if other symptoms appear or do not heal on their own within a few days, you should see a vet immediately.

The visit to the vet begins with an anamnesis (questions to the caregiver). The purpose of this is to collect important information about the possible cause of the onset of the disease. To establish differential diagnoses, it is necessary to know the dog’s vaccination status, the appearance of new symptoms, or contact with other sick animals.

A general clinical examination follows the anamnesis to find out the general health of the dog. This is very important, as the subsequent diagnosis depends on the current condition of the dog. The most important parameters are the general condition of the dog, the heart and respiratory rate, and the condition of the mucous membranes and internal body temperature.

In cases of conjunctivitis that are not improving in your dog or your dog is at risk of infection, a veterinarian can conduct further testing to reach a definitive diagnosis. The veterinarian will conduct specific tests according to the medical history of your dog and examine the tissue that is surrounding the eye. 

If the general clinical examination results do not show a significant deviation from vital parameters, the special examination can be started. To exclude the presence of a foreign body, the vet examines the eye. However, if this is suspected and the dog is uncooperative, a local anesthetic or sedative may be necessary. A swab smear can quickly detect infectious diseases.

The swab is examined under a microscope and with a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to identify the bacteria and viruses involved. However, since very few veterinarians have this last diagnostic option, samples are often sent to special laboratories. The vet usually receives the result in a few days.

Healing and treatment

The treatment of conjunctivitis is carried out according to the cause of the inflammation. If it is a mild irritation from dust or something similar, it is usually enough to rinse the eye daily. A foreign material must be obliterated and with great care. If necessary, eye drops or ointments can be administered after extraction. If the cause of the eye inflammation is a bacterial infection, the vet will prescribe ophthalmic antibiotics. Yeast infections are treated with fungicides. If a bacterial infection, such as chalazia, the conjunctiva is thoroughly washed, antiparasitic medications are prescribed.

Ptosis of the eyelids must be operated on when they cause lasting symptoms. In the same way, the annoying hairs inside the eyelids (distichiasis, trichiasis) must be removed by laser treatment or surgically. If follicular conjunctivitis in young dogs is acute, it can be treated with special ointments. After the dog reaches the age of 2.5 to 3 years, this disease no longer appears. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca requires laborious treatment depending on the cause and severity of the disease.

Preventing conjunctivitis in Dogs

Since the eyes are one of the most delicate areas of dogs, it is convenient to clean them with a wet wipe every time you return from a walk. This helps to recognize in time possible irritations, foreign bodies, or injuries that may have been created after browsing through the bushes. It is not advisable to administer drops or creams on your own if you discover any redness or green discharge, as this can cause the disease to get worse. Also, it is better to avoid applying infusions.

Conjunctivitis in a dog is a problem that affects the eyes due to inflammation in the mucous membrane responsible for covering the inner part of the eyelids. In certain cases, apart from the presence of this inflammation, this condition is accompanied by an eye infection known as a secondary infection. It is easy to distinguish it since the dog’s eyes are red, full of tears, or full of lagañas. Occasionally, conjunctivitis occurs as a solitary condition, so sometimes it becomes part of the chain of signs and symptoms of some other disease that affects the animal.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.