Inflammation of the conjunctiva tissue is referred to as conjunctivitis. A mucous membrane, the conjunctiva is comparable to the lining of the mouth and nose. This membrane, a layer of mucus-secreting epithelial cells, borders the eyelids and covers the eyeball.
In the inner corner of the eye of dogs, there is a third eyelid known as the nictitating membrane that is likewise covered with conjunctiva. The conjunctiva of a healthy dog’s eyelids is not readily visible and has a faint, pink hue. The conjunctival membranes get red and swell as a result of conjunctivitis.
What are the clinical signs associated with conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis’ most typical clinical symptoms include hazy, yellowish, or greenish eye discharge, frequent blinking or squinting, and redness or swelling around the eyes. Even while conjunctivitis frequently affects both eyes, it occasionally only affects one eye. Other clinical symptoms including nasal discharge, sneezing, or coughing may also accompany conjunctivitis.
What causes conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis has the following particular causes:
- viruses like the canine distemper virus.
- allergic conjunctivitis, which is more prevalent in animals with inhalant or seasonal allergies, plasma cell conjunctivitis, which is more prevalent in German Shepherds, and pemphigus (an autoimmune skin disorder).
- eyelid and conjunctival tumors.
- diseases specific to a breed, like nodular episcleritis in Collies and Collie hybrids.
- A lack of tear films might cause keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS or dry eye).
- Secondary conjunctivitis is frequently brought on by eyelid abnormalities like entropion or ectropion, as well as eyelash problems including distichiasis and ectopic cilia.
- The tissues encircling the eyeball may become inflamed as a result of blocked nasolacrimal or tear ducts.
- Inflammatory conjunctivitis can be brought on by trauma to the eye or irritation from dust, smoke, or other environmental irritants.
- other eye conditions such glaucoma, anterior uveitis, and ulcerative keratitis.
How is conjunctivitis diagnosed?
Determining if conjunctivitis is a primary or secondary issue, whether there is extra disease or injury to the eye, whether the condition is allergic, or whether it affects the tissues of the eye itself is the major objective of diagnosis (sclera). A thorough and in-depth eye examination must be carried out in order to distinguish several of these disorders. This will involve thorough examination of the eye’s supporting structures (eyelids, eyelashes, tear ducts, third eyelid, etc.), measurements of intraocular pressure to rule out glaucoma or uveitis, and tests to determine whether tears are produced (such as the Schirmer tear production test).
Nasolacrimal duct flushing, bacterial culture and sensitivity tests, conjunctival cytology or biopsy, and allergy testing are further examinations and procedures that might be carried out.
How is conjunctivitis treated?
Topical and oral drugs may be used in the course of treatment, which is aimed at the specific reason. Commonly administered topical medications include gentamicin, tobramycin, chloramphenicol, oxytetracycline, ciprofloxacin, or triple-antibiotic ocular ointments and solutions. Some canines will be given anti-inflammatory drugs, such as dexamethasone or ocular prednisolone. Oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs may also be utilized in dogs with secondary conjunctivitis. In order to increase tear production in dogs with KCS, medicines like cyclosporine or tacrolimus are frequently needed. Dogs with anomalies in their eyelids or eyelashes will need surgery to repair them.
Will my dog recover from conjunctivitis?
In most conjunctivitis cases, the prognosis for dogs is great. Depending on the precise diagnosis, severe, ongoing, or recurring conjunctivitis may have a guarded prognosis. Immune-mediated diseases and KCS may both require lifetime treatment.
How can I manage conjunctivitis in my dog at home?
Never attempt to cure an unidentified eye ailment without a veterinarian’s guidance. Human eye drops and other treatments shouldn’t be used because they could make your dog’s eye worse or perhaps permanently harm it.
The reason of your dog’s conjunctivitis will decide the precise course of treatment. Commonly advised courses of treatment include:
Medication (Note: Medication for conjunctivitis has the potential to exacerbate a corneal damage and even result in blindness. If corneal damage exists, your veterinarian will identify it and provide guidance on how to continue.)
Your veterinarian may advise that your dog wear an Elizabethan collar until the conjunctivitis clears up, regardless of the underlying cause. Although it might seem annoying, wearing an E-collar will stop your dog from rubbing or scratching his eyes, which could irritate them.
The owner of a dog can provide eye drops at home as directed. This is how:
To prevent the dog from escaping, hold him close to your body. (You might need help, depending on the size and comfort level of the dog.)
Take hold of the dog’s shoulder with one arm, then use the other to push his chin up so his eyes are skyward. Pull the dog’s lower eyelid down to form a little pouch beneath the eyeball using the same hand.
Give the recommended number of drops. Keep the bottle’s top away from your eyes. If you can, place the bottle’s holding hand against your dog’s head. Your dog’s head will move together with your hand as a result, decreasing the likelihood that you’ll poke him in the eye by accident.
Release your hold once the drops have been placed. The dog will assist disperse the drug evenly over the eye by blinking and moving naturally.
Allow at least five minutes between administering eye medications to your dog if more than one topical eye medication has been prescribed. Always apply creams and lotions last.
Once eye drops are used, your dog should get relief very quickly. Within a few days, the mending process gets under way. It may take up to two or three weeks to fully recover.
Is there a cure for conjunctivitis in dogs?
With the right care, conjunctivitis will nearly always go away. Nevertheless, allergic conjunctivitis may return, and just as people can catch colds more than once, dogs can experience repeated outbreaks of infectious conjunctivitis.
Is conjunctivitis contagious for humans and other pets?
Conjunctivitis that is not infectious (due to an injury or allergies, for example) is not contagious. On the other hand, if the conjunctivitis is brought on by a viral or bacterial infection, it may spread from one dog to another. In addition, although exceedingly unlikely, some kinds of canine conjunctivitis (often bacterial) may be transmitted to humans.
Anyone handling an affected dog should wash their hands properly to avoid transmitting the infection to other animals or to humans. When you have been near an infected dog, avoid touching your face or eye area. Please call your doctor right away if you see any symptoms of an eye infection.
What is the cost for treating conjunctivitis in dogs?
Conjunctivitis treatment costs cover the expense of a vet visit in addition to the diagnostic exams and medications required to treat the infection. Since canine conjunctivitis is a common condition, the cost of treatment shouldn’t be prohibitive but may vary depending on variables like location. (Living expenses in larger cities are generally greater, and this includes the cost of caring for animals.) Treatment costs may be higher for recurrent or chronic illnesses like allergies or “dry eye,” as they may require repeated or long-term pharmaceutical use.
Without first seeking advice from a veterinarian, avoid attempting to treat conjunctivitis. Depending on the etiology of the conjunctivitis, the veterinarian will recommend the most efficient course of action.
Can I administer human conjunctivitis eye drops to my dog?
It’s crucial to have a veterinarian check your dog to make sure the cornea is not damaged if pink eye develops in your dog as a result of an injury, a foreign item in the eye, or debris. A corneal damage is quite dangerous and may be treated medically or may need to be surgically repaired. Most significantly, pink eye treatments may exacerbate a corneal injury and increase the risk of blindness. Before giving any medication to your pet, make sure you speak with a veterinarian. It should go without saying that unless you are qualified, you shouldn’t diagnose or treat your dog. Additionally, eye drops and other human medications are frequently different for dogs. Never administer human medication to your dog without first seeking advice from a veterinary care professional. The incorrect application of eye drops could result in severe discomfort, harm, and blindness.
Can dogs with conjunctivitis be treated without a prescription?
Eye drops or ointments containing steroids are the most popular treatments for allergic conjunctivitis. If there is systemic inflammation, it may also be advised to take oral steroids and antihistamines. When it comes to allergic conjunctivitis, prevention is key, therefore you must keep your dog away from the underlying allergens that cause it. Your veterinarian might advise allergic skin testing, flea preventatives, environmental modifications, and feeding trials.
Topical antibiotics are frequently used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, but depending on how severe the infection is, oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed. In addition to oral antioxidants that strengthen the immune system, oral or topical antiviral medicines are occasionally used to treat viral conjunctivitis.
Dogs with anomalies of the eyelids or eyelashes will need surgery to fix them in order to prevent long-term problems. Dogs with chronic dry eyes will need to take drugs to increase tear production for the rest of their lives. Immunomodulatory drugs (those that alter the immune system) must be administered topically and orally to dogs with immunological-mediated medical conditions, frequently for the rest of their lives.
Prevention of Conjunctivitis in Dogs
In general, the key to repairing the eye is to stop further injury while also attending to the underlying problem. To prevent your dog from rubbing their face or scratching their eyes, which can result in abrasions (scrapes) or even perforations (holes) in the cornea, an Elizabethan collar or pet cone is useful.
To monitor recovery and alter treatment as needed, frequent veterinary rechecks are frequently advised. If clinical symptoms persist, quickly deteriorate, or return and become chronic problems, your veterinarian may advise a referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist (eye doctor) or dermatologist.
Medications for Conjunctivitis in Dogs
Topical forms of gentamicin, tobramycin, oxytetracycline, ciprofloxacin, and triple-antibiotic ocular ointments/drops are used to treat conjunctivitis. Some dogs will require topical or oral anti-inflammatory drugs like prednisolone or dexamethasone (both corticosteroids). For dogs with persistent dry eyes, drugs like cyclosporine or tacrolimus are needed to promote tear production.
Although it is not always the best option or recommended treatment for canine conjunctivitis, terramycin is an over-the-counter antibiotic ophthalmic ointment. Although it is routinely used for feline conjunctivitis, including bacterial and viral infections, it is less usually used for canine conjunctivitis.
Home Remedies for Conjunctivitis in Dogs
Home remedies can be used to ease pain and keep the eye clean, but they typically do not address the underlying medical condition. Once or twice a day, you can gently wipe your dog’s eyes with sterile saline eye wash solutions to remove any discharge as well as dirt, pollen, and other foreign objects.
To make sure the eye is not damaged further, never flush an eye at home without first consulting your veterinarian experts.
To prevent tear duct obstruction, which can lead to conjunctivitis in some dogs, there are several holistic medications that can be used locally or orally to the area around the eyes. Before beginning any treatments for your dog’s eye disorders, it’s crucial to go over your options with your vet.
How can I take care of my dog’s eye infection myself?
Any irritants can be safely removed from a dog’s eye with saline eye drops. These drops won’t hurt and might give your dog’s irritated eye some short-term relief.
Saline eye drops can be gently squirted into your dog’s eye after being acquired from a pharmacy, online, or a pet store. They differ from contact lens solutions. The extra components in contact lens solution for humans make it unsafe to use in a dog’s eye. To avoid damaging the sensitive eye tissues, always be sure to keep the tip of the drug a short distance away from the eye’s surface.
Antibacterial Eye Drops
The most popular eye drops for dogs are antibacterial eye drops. Most pet stores sell these over-the-counter, or you may get them through your neighborhood veterinary clinic.
If your dog has a leaking eye, you can try these on him to see if it will go away on its own.
However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can try these eye drops for a day or two first. Of course, we always advise seeking medical attention for eye concerns.
Steroid Eye Drops
Dogs with eye irritation are treated with prescription steroid eye drops.
Steroids are a great technique to prevent vision loss because the eye is a highly delicate organ that can scar rapidly from any irritation.
Eye drops containing both steroids and antibiotics are more frequently utilized to treat both the inflammation and the underlying cause of it at the same time.
Does Benadryl treat canine conjunctivitis?
What to anticipate and some of the most popular dog conjunctivitis treatments are listed below:
- Ointments or eyedrops. These frequently include either an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory, or a combination of the two. Veterinarians frequently recommend antibiotic eye drops to avoid secondary/opportunistic bacterial infections that could worsen the condition, even when the primary cause of conjunctivitis is not infectious.
- Oral medications. Some puppies could require further support with oral drugs, depending on their diagnosis and symptoms. Examples include using an antihistamine like Benadryl to treat conjunctivitis brought on by seasonal allergies or using a painkiller appropriate for dogs to treat eye pain.
- the collar of Elizabeth. When they have conjunctivitis, dogs may scratch or rub the region around their eyes, which could result in a scratch or eye ulcer that could cause long-term damage and impair the dog’s vision. The use of a “cone helps to avoid this problem. Consider wearing an e-collar on your dog in the meantime if you can’t get your pet in to see the vet soon immediately to prevent an accidently scratched eye.
- Maintaining the eye area clean: To remove eye discharge that has accumulated on a dog’s skin or fur, place a clean, moist cloth over the dog’s closed eye. While you wait for your veterinary visit, it’s usually okay to use a simple saline eye wash or (non-medicated) tears drops. However, if your dog’s eye appears to be in discomfort, never force these in, and if you are unsure, consult your medical experts. Utilize no contact lens solution.
- Some dogs may find relief from a cold compress. Use a gentle, cold compress with a towel covering it or a cold, wet washcloth to soothe your dog’s skin. Hold the compress in place a few times a day for up to a few minutes at a time. Don’t force it on your dog if they don’t like it.
- For some cases, such as eyelid tumors and eyelid/eyelash abnormalities, surgery may be necessary to surgically remove the growth or abnormality causing the eye irritation (s).
Note: Never administer to a dog any human medications (including herbal remedies) or therapies that have been previously given by a veterinarian without first consulting your veterinarian. The consequences of choosing the incorrect drug might be severe! Furthermore, some human items are harmful to pets.