Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Overview of Canine Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue coating the eye and lining the eyelids. Normally, the conjunctiva is moist and glistening with tiny blood vessels coursing through the semilucent tissue. It serves as a protective barrier for the dog’s eye by trapping debris and helping to prevent invasion of viruses and bacteria.

Conjunctivitis is a common eye problem in dogs. It may be the only eye disease present, or may be associated with other diseases or eye problems.

Causes of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Conjunctivitis is usually diagnosed based on physical exam findings. Your veterinarian will probably perform the following tests:

In some situations, additional tests may be recommended, such as:

Treatment of Conjunctivitis in Dogs

Treatment involves symptomatic therapy for the conjunctivitis and specific therapy for any underlying causes.

Home Care and Prevention for Dogs with Conjunctivitis

If you suspect that your dog has foreign matter in the eye, flushing with sterile eye irrigation solution can help dislodge the offending material. If flushing the eye is not possible or effective, prompt examination by a veterinarian is recommended.

Once diagnosed and started on medications, the eyes should be checked frequently for improvement. Most cases of conjunctivitis improve within 24 to 48 hours after medication is begun. If you notice that your dog is not improving, consult your veterinarian.

Unfortunately, many causes of conjunctivitis are not preventable, but veterinary examination and treatment usually resolves the disease rapidly and maintains your dog’s eyes and vision. To prevent conjunctivitis due to foreign matter in the eye, try to prevent exposure to potentially damaging items. Be very careful when bathing your dog to prevent shampoo from getting in the eyes.

Information In-depth for Dogs with Conjunctivitis

Canine conjunctivitis is a common eye ailment. It may occur alone or secondary to another eye disease. Finding and treating the underlying eye problem can prevent or diminish future episodes of conjunctivitis. In some instances no cause is ever defined for the conjunctivitis, but there are a variety of diseases that can produce conjunctivitis.

Diagnosis In-depth of Canine Conjunctivitis

Diagnosing conjunctivitis is based on the physical exam finding of a red, inflamed conjunctiva with associated tearing or other eye discharge. Diagnosing the underlying cause in order to provide correct treatment is sometimes difficult. Your veterinarian will probably perform the following:

In addition to these tests, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests.

Treatment of Canine Conjunctivitis

Since many cases of conjunctivitis are mild and respond to topical anti-inflammatory medications, your veterinarian may chose to prescribe such a drug before proceeding with additional diagnostics. If the conjunctivitis does not resolve in five to seven days, or if it recurs immediately after the medication is stopped, further tests may be needed.

IF an exact cause can be determined, the specific treatment is instituted for that cause.