canine conjunctivitis in a dog's eye

Canine Conjunctivitis

Spring has sprung and with it allergy season. Unfortunately, our pets are susceptible to the same allergies that afflict us.  In addition to excessive itching, scratching, and sneezing, dogs are also susceptible to runny/water eyes, which, if severe, can lead to conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis – also known as “pink eye” – is simply an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva (the outermost layer of the eyeball and inside of the eyelids).  Airborne allergens such as pollen, as well as others like mold, dander, perfume, or smoke (to name a few) all have the potential to cause conjunctivitis.

But allergies are not the only way dogs can contract conjunctivitis; it can also be caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. Dogs that are experiencing a cold or upper respiratory infection caused by a virus may have drainage from the eyes that could cause conjunctivitis.

Another cause of “pink eye” in dogs is bacteria. The bacteria Streptococcus and Staphylococcus are the most well-known culprits. While proven bacterial conjunctivitis in dogs is rare, it is highly, highly contagious.

The final way in which conjunctivitis may be contracted is from an irritation or injury to the eye. If a dog’s eye is rubbed or scratched, this too can lead to an infection of the conjunctiva.

If your dog is showing symptoms of conjunctivitis such as goopy or bloodshot eyes, swollen eyelids, and/or excessive rubbing or scratching of the eyes, you should bring him to the Vet. Upon diagnosis, your Vet should be able to tell you if the conjunctivitis is likely to be viral, bacterial or environmental. If viral or bacterial, your dog’s conjunctivitis should be considered contagious and he should be kept away from other dogs until it clears.

Most cases of conjunctivitis are treated with drops or ointments applied directly to the eyes. If the conjunctivitis is associated with another illness, like an upper respiratory infection, then antibiotics may also be given.

Since conjunctivitis can be contagious, we ask that you let the staff at Dingo’s Dogsitting & Doggy Daycare know if your dog is showing any symptoms and, likewise, if he is diagnosed and treated. When in doubt, contact your Vet for further information or to schedule a visit.

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