Ophthalmia Neonatorum in Puppies

Overview of Ophthalmia Neonatorum (Eye Infection) in Puppies

Ophthalmia neonatorum is an infection of the conjunctiva (the thin layer of tissue that lines the eyelids) or cornea (the transparent structure that makes up the front part of the eye). It occurs before or just after the eyelids open in puppies, usually during the first 10 to 14 days of life.

This infection is often associated with Staphylococcus in dogs and cats. Vaginal infection of the mother at the time of birth and an unclean environment for the newborn predisposes the baby to this infection. All breeds are susceptible.

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Ophthalmia Neonatorum in Puppies

A full physical examination of the dam and neonate puppy are important. Tests may include:

Treatment of Ophthalmia Neonatorum in Puppies

Home Care and Prevention for Ophthalmia Neonatorum

Your veterinarian may order warm compresses to help prevent the eyelids from closing again and to keep the face clean. Apply all medication as directed by your veterinarian. If your dog appears to show signs of systemic illness, like lethargy, decreased appetite or unwillingness to nurse, vomiting or diarrhea, contact your veterinarian at once.

Keep the newborn’s environment clean and examine each puppy every day for signs of illness.