How to Treat Canine Conjunctivitis

French bulldog getting an eye exam on vet exam table

The eye ailment conjunctivitis can affect dogs, cats, people, and other animals. It can happen on its own or in combination with another eye problem. Conjunctivitis, like other eye issues, should be treated by a veterinarian.

What is Conjunctivitis in Dogs?

Inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin layer of tissue that borders the eyelid and covers the sclera (white component of the eye), is referred to as conjunctivitis. The conjunctiva serves to protect and lubricate the eye. When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, the eye might become red and puffy. Pink eye is a common nickname for conjunctivitis. One or both eyes may be affected. It may begin in one eye and progress to the other in certain circumstances.

Signs of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

  • Eye redness
  • Swelling or puffiness of eyes
  • Squinting
  • Excessive blinking
  • Rubbing or pawing at the eyes

Causes of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed, it is known as conjunctivitis. It might happen on its own, but it can also be an indication of another eye condition. The following are some of the possible causes of conjunctivitis in dogs:

  • Trauma to the eye
  • Infectious diseases, especially those that impact the upper respiratory system
  • Eye or eyelid masses
  • Tear production issues (such as KCS/dry eye)
  • Tear duct problems, such as obstruction
  • Entropion or ectropion (eyelid abnormalities)
  • Distichiasis and other abnormal eyelash growth
  • Anterior uveitis
  • Ulcerative keratitis

To ease discomfort or pain, dogs with conjunctivitis may paw at their eyes or rub their cheeks against objects. The dog may aggravate the eyes, resulting in consequences such as corneal ulcers. If you observe this, contact your veterinarian straight away.

Conjunctivitis sometimes go away on its own after a day or two, especially if it's caused by allergies or a mild injury. If you observe indications of conjunctivitis that appear moderate to severe, or if you are concerned about your dog, call your veterinarian straight once. A vet visit is required if mild symptoms last longer than one to two days. Minor eye issues can quickly escalate, so it's advisable to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Treatment of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Conjunctivitis therapy varies depending on the reason. Your veterinarian will do a comprehensive eye and physical examination to check for underlying illnesses and other issues. To determine a diagnosis, your veterinarian may need to undertake specific eye exams. This might involve a tear production test, a stain to search for corneal ulcers or lesions, and an intraocular pressure measurement.

If the dog's conjunctivitis looks to be caused by an eye illness or another ailment, the doctor will advise treating the ailment as well as the conjunctivitis. Eye drops or ointments, as well as oral drugs, may be used to treat the condition. Surgical treatment will be required for some eye problems. When specialist treatments or diagnostics are required, your veterinarian may send you to an ophthalmologist.

Conjunctivitis with no underlying cause is commonly treated with steroid eye drops or ointment to minimize irritation. Antibiotic eye drops can also be used to treat or prevent bacterial infections in the eyes. Eye medicines are normally administered twice or four times each day.

When it comes to treatment, it's critical to follow your veterinarian's advice. Avoid skipping treatments when they're due. If the eye does not improve or worsens, contact your veterinarian right once.

How to Prevent Conjunctivitis in Dogs

You may not be able to prevent your dog from developing conjunctivitis, but you may be able to detect it early and take your dog to the veterinarian before it gets serious. If your dog develops an eye anomaly, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

If your dog is sensitive to the environment, talk to your veterinarian about taking an antihistamine like diphenhydramine to reduce the allergic reaction.

If you know your dog has an existing eye condition, it's important to keep it under control. Give all medications as directed and contact your vet if there is a change to the eyes.