When an animal is in distress or pain, it is heart wrenching for the pet owner to know their beloved pet is traumatized yet not always know where the source of the pain is.
is a visible condition that any alert pet owner will pick up upon. It is always worthwhile checking your
after returning from a walk to see if they have anything in their eyes or if there is a discharge of any kind. It is quite possible that on cold windy days the dog may get watery eyes or may get a grass seed or some other particle in the eye when running through the park or countryside. Good grooming practice will see a dog owner gently bathing the eyes as part of the routine or using special wipes designed for the purpose of cleansing the sensitive eye area.
What is Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
Conjunctivitis in dogs is one ailment that will be obvious to any dog owner because of the way it presents itself.
is also known by the name “pink eye” which is a very apt description of the ailment.
Pink eye in dogs is an inflammation of the conjunctival membrane that covers the back of the eyelids and the surface of the eyeball up to the cornea. It is one of the most common conditions to affect dogs. Some dogs may be more prone to
than others may. If your dog is already suffering with an allergy, it is quite likely to suffer
. The orbital anatomy of your dog’s eye can vary and the deep and large eyes of giant and large breeds of dog can predispose them to chronic conjunctivitis.
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When you notice inflammation in your
, signs of redness or watery eyes, it may indicate an eye problem that may require simple eye drops to emergency surgery. There are many other inflammatory conditions and infectious diseases that have similar symptoms to pink eye so always see your veterinarian if you are unsure that it is pink eye.
is the most common
of all domestic animals.
In dogs, the eye reddens because of the increased flow of blood to the eye area and you may also notice swelling of the mucous membranes. Bacteria or viruses can cause
. Parasites such as ticks and allergies are less common causes of pink eye, but ticks can transmit several parasites that can cause not only pink eye but also other eye conditions such as keratitis and uveitis, which are serious conditions of the eye. There may be clear
discharge from the eyes
or the discharge may contain mucous depending on how severely the dog is affected by the disease.
Application of Conventional Pink Eye Drops Treatments
Usual prescribed conventional treatments for
pink eye in dogs
or conjunctivitis is to use eye drops containing antibacterial agents. Several daily applications of eye drops over the course of several days are required for successful treatment. There are disadvantages to using eye drops and the biggest is the rapid dispersal and elimination form the eye’s surface. There are treatments that help overcome this where a little sticky insert containing the drug is put into the lower eye sac and dissolves thus making the treatment more effective.
Pink Eye Symptoms
The classic signs of
are a red eye with a discharge. Conjunctivitis is not usually painful. If the eye is red, look out for the dog closing his or her eye, squinting and closing the eye. This may indicate diseases that are more serious or trauma to the eye. Do not delay seeking veterinary advice in this case, as delays may lead to blindness
The eye may have different kinds of discharge. Again, care must be taken to determine whether it is
or not. In the case where both eyes are discharging, an allergy or something more serious like canine distemper could be responsible. When the discharge is only in one eye, try to find out if it is a local cause like hair in the eye or a foreign body. Sometimes discharge is present if your dog has scratched his or her eye running through bushes and brambles.
Types of Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
pink eye in dogs
, the eye discharge may be clear, mucus like or pus like. A stringy, mucoid discharge suggests the dog may have inadequate tears; this problem is the most common cause of
Serous Conjunctivitis Drops
Serous conjunctivitis is a mild condition in which the membranes look pink and somewhat swollen. The discharge is clear and watery. Physical irritants such as wind, cold, dust, and allergens cause serous conjunctivitis. A lot of itching often accompanies allergic conjunctivitis and the dog will rub his face and eyes. There are some viruses that will also cause a clear discharge as well.
Follicular (mucoid) conjunctivitis is a condition in which the small mucous glands (follicles) on the underside of the eye membrane react to an eye irritant or infection by forming a rough, cobblestone surface that irritates the eye and produces a mucoid discharge. After the causing factor has been treated, the follicles may persist and the rough surface acts as a chronic irritant.
Purulent conjunctivitis is serous conjunctivitis that becomes infected. The usual culprits are the bacteria Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. The conjunctiva is red and swollen. The eye discharge contains mucus and pus and thick secretions may crust the eyelids.
Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye in Puppies
The eyes of newborn puppies open at 10 to 14 days of age. Infection behind the eyelids, called neonatal conjunctivitis, can occur before or after the eyelids separate. Bacteria that gains access to the space behind the eyelids during or shortly after birth cause this form of conjunctivitis.
There is a condition with newborn puppies where the eyelids do not open as widely as they should. This predisposes a puppy to neonatal conjunctivitis. Neonatal conjunctivitis may affect several puppies in the same litter.
Always check puppies’ eyes and suspect this problem if the eyelids appear swollen and/or the eyelids bulge. A purulent discharge may be present if the infection occurs when the eyes are beginning to open. The discharge may cause the eyelids to stick together. Always contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect neonatal conjunctivitis. Delay in treatment can lead to corneal damage and blindness.
Various Treatments for Conjunctivitis and Pink Eye
Between the veterinarian and owner, an investigation into the underlying causes of
needs to be undertaken. Correction depends on the cause. For example, if the pink eye was caused by a foreign object, cold. or seed in the eye, then clearly the pink eye will not be recurrent. If it is bacterial or viral, it will run its course but if the dog suffers from recurrent episodes of pink eye, then tests need to be run to establish cause in case there is a more serious ailment
Serous Conjunctivitis Treatment Drops
Irritants, allergens, and particles going into the eye cause serous conjunctivitis. It is the most common form of the disease and can be readily treated at home. Flush the eye three or four times a day with over-the-counter sterile saline eyewash or artificial tears. Notify your veterinarian if the eye appears to be getting worse.
Follicular Conjunctivitis Treatment Drops
Mild cases of follicular conjunctivitis respond to antibiotic and corticosteroid eye ointments prescribed by your veterinarian. In resistant cases, the follicles may need to be destroyed by chemical cauterization.
Purulent Conjunctivitis Treatment Drops
This form of
requires veterinary examination and treatment. It is important to remove mucus and pus from the eyes, as well as pus and crusts that adhere to the eyelids. Moisten a cotton ball with sterile eyewash and gently cleanse the eye. Warm, moist packs may help loosen crusts. Repeat as necessary and apply topical antibiotics as prescribed by your veterinarian. Topical antibiotics should be continued for several days beyond the conjunctivitis apparent cure.
Corticosteroids and eye medications containing corticosteroids should not be used in dogs with purulent conjunctivitis because they impair the inflammatory response that fights infection. Bacterial culture and sensitivity tests may be needed if the conjunctivitis does not improve.
Natural Drops and Alternative Treatments for Conjunctivitis and Pink Eye
There are many natural and alternative treatments on the market for pink eye and some of these can be very effective for soothing irritation and effecting a cure or to be used as a complementary treatment along side your prescribed treatments. Soothing essential oils that are potent with healing powers can be something to be considered for your dog also.
Nursing your dog with Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye Drops
Bear in mind that if your dog has bacterial or viral conjunctivitis or pinkeye, it is contagious so if you have other dogs in the home, you should keep the infected dog isolated and practice good hygiene. The risks of contagion are fairly low but it is wise to take precautions. It is possible for your dog to contract a viral or
from a local dog park or place where lots of dogs are walked.
There is an awful lot of misinformation about the transfer of the disease from dogs to humans. It is not possible for the bacteria or virus to be transmitted to humans. Rest assured that
is not contagious to humans from dogs so you and your family are not at risk of this. For a bacteria or virus to make the leap across species is a very rare phenomenon indeed and certainly, this is not the case with this particular ailment. Nevertheless, it cannot be stressed enough that good hygiene practices when handling your dog when he or she is sick are of utmost importance, not only for your health but for the pet’s recovery too.
While it is unlikely that your dog will be very poorly or ill with pink eye, as a responsible owner you will want to do your best to keep him or her comfortable. Your dog will need extra attention and you will have to give him or her medication and attend to their well-being watching closely for any change in the condition. Avoid over handling the dog and especially be careful if you groom the dog as you do not want additional irritants to irritate an already sore eye if loose hair is in the atmosphere. Keep the dog away from any environmental pollutants and do not allow them to sit in the way of fans or heaters. It is important to avoid adding irritation to the eyes.
There should be no need to change the diet of your dog from his normal food unless he is off it when you can try and tempt him or her with some cooked chicken and rice. Keep your dog comfortable in a calm area where he or she may be left in peace. If you have children, explain that the pet is sick and is not to be played with or pulled about just in case they may snap or bite if they are feeling pain. In this situation, your dog that is experiencing any pain or soreness and feels poorly may act out of character through no fault of their own so take care when handling your pet if he or she is not on top form. Spend time with the dog and show some sympathy and kindness. They will know you are looking after them.
Giving Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye Medication to Your Dog
It is never easy giving medication to your dog especially when you sometimes need to be firm to ensure they receive the treatment. With eye drops, it can be tricky but with some patience, you will get the job done.
Before you apply the eye drops make sure your dog’s eyes are clean. Gently bathe with warm water using separate pieces of cotton wool for each eye. Make sure you are familiar with the medication and read the instructions thoroughly.
You will need to secure your dog. If possible, obtain the help of a friend or family member to leave your hands free to put the drops into your dog’s eyes. If you have to apply the eye drops alone, depending on the size of the dog you can hold him or her between your knees with the backside against a wall or door. A smaller dog will need to be cradled in your arms.
You will need to hold the dog’s head steady by cradling it in your hand, placing your palm underneath the chin for stability. Then with the other hand, gently pull the lower eyelid down, creating a pocket to put the eye medication in.
Squeeze the eye drops in quickly, counting out the prescribed number of drops into the pouch that you created, being careful not to touch the tip of the bottle to your dog’s eye. Let go of your dog, and allow him to blink or move as usual. The act of blinking will move the eye drops across the surface of the eye; it should not require any additional help from you.
Using a Neck Collar for Dogs with Conjunctivitis or Pink Eye
What is distressing for the dog is that pink eye can itch which is very uncomfortable for the dog and of course if he or she is allowed to itch they are at risk of scratching the eyeball surface or making the infection worse. Keeping the eyes clean and eliminating the cause of the conjunctivitis with the appropriate medication or treatment program is the key to clearing up the infection as quickly as possible. If you find your dog is itching badly, a neck collar can be obtained from your veterinarian, neighborhood pet store or you can make one yourself.
The commercial neck collars are made in hard plastic and come in different sizes to suit your dog. You may well have to do a makeshift job if your dog is itching at his eyes badly. The collar may look a little odd, but it is far better than your dog cross infecting his pink eye condition. What is most important is it gets the job done until you can obtain something sturdier. You may not need to buy a commercial product at all depending on your dog.
For large dogs, consider cutting a hole in the bottom of a plastic bucket just big enough to slip your dog’s head through. If you have a large cardboard box, you can cut a neck collar to fit your pet. Take your dog’s collar off or measure the circumference of his neck. The collar is initially a semi-circle.
Draw a semi-circle in the centre of the cardboard using your dog’s neck measurement. It will seem like this is too big but the size of the collar will reduce when you form it into a cone. Next, draw the outer edge of the collar. The distance from the inner semi-circle to the outer one is about ½ the measurement of your dog’s neck. Connect the two edges of the semi-circles and cut out the shape. Puncture some holes in both edges of the makeshift collar. If possible, cut out some slits near the edge of the inner semi-circle. Weave your dog’s normal collar through the slits. Mold the cardboard into a cone and place on your dog’s head. Secure onto the neck with the neck collar. Hopefully, the holes punched in the side will line up. You can use shoestrings to lace and secure the edges together. Do not worry about how the collar looks; know that your pet will not be irritating his or her eyes.
A quick and easy collar can be made for small dogs. Take a paper plate and cut a circle out of the centre, just big enough to slip your dog’s head through. If the plate is too big, trim down the edges. You can even remove a strip of the plate and mold it into a cone. Use tape to secure the edges.
Once you have put the collar on, you may see some odd behavior while the dog gets used to it. Most dogs unaccustomed to these collars will bang into furniture, walls, the floor and your legs and look a bit drunk! Some dogs will not eat with this collar on and a few may just hover in one area, waiting for the collar to disappear. You may feel sorry for you pet but remember you are preventing further injury and infection to the eyes.
If your dog is supervised, the collar can come off and he or she can enjoy some free time. Some dogs may need the collar removed each time they eat. Remember to replace it when you are not around or when you are sleeping. Your dog will be less than pleased wearing a neck collar and many do not take kindly to them and may try to remove them but bear in mind that your dog’s eyes are precious and a little discomfort for him or her wearing the collar will in the long term, protect them from further damage to the eye.
conjunctivitis in dogs
or pink eye is something that if treated appropriately and in time will be a relatively short-term illness. Keeping the eyes clean and bathed is good practice and always follow your veterinarian’s advice if antibiotics or other drugs are required. For milder cases, natural remedies may be all that is required, but the welfare of your dog is very important so it is wise to seek advice as soon as you notice any tell tale signs of redness, discharge, and swelling around the eyes and membranes. If your dog has severe redness and it is possible a foreign body is embedded or an accident has occurred then this should be treated as an emergency situation and your veterinarian should be contacted. In the most common form, your dog’s symptoms will be mild and he or she will make a speedy recovery.