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Conjunctivitis in dogs: symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention

Conjunctivitis can have various causes that are important to identify so that the dog can be treated. Some symptoms can put the dog's owner on the track, but it is better to consult the veterinarian because the manifestations of conjunctivitis can sometimes lead to the suspicion of an underlying pathology that is much more serious. Let's take stock of the situation.

Conjunctivitis in dogs: symptoms that vary depending on the origin of the disease

The symptoms that lead to the suspicion of conjunctivitis in dogs vary according to the cause of the disease. Indeed, this pathology, most often without gravity, can be traumatic, allergic or infectious. Sometimes a dry tear can also be the cause as well as a foreign body. Here are the main symptoms of the different types of conjunctivitis that dogs can suffer from.

Traumatic conjunctivitis

A blow, a scratch, an injury due to a branch or a projectile, for example, can be the cause of traumatic conjunctivitis. It is necessary to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible in order to treat the affected eye and to avoid the formation of a corneal ulcer, as this can cause suffering to the animal.

Traumatic conjunctivitis is sometimes caused by abnormalities such as poorly implanted eyelashes or ectropion or eversion of the eyelid margin. The dogs concerned suffer from recurrent conjunctivitis which can be stopped with a small surgical intervention.

Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergy to pollen, dust, dust mites... Some dogs are sensitive to various allergens which impacts their health condition. Veterinarians commonly see dogs suffering from allergic conjunctivitis. This condition is usually bilateral and therefore causes symptoms in both eyes.

Depending on the allergen involved, conjunctivitis can be seasonal (pollens) or last throughout the year (dust, mites). It is enough for the dog to no longer be in contact with the allergen in question for the conjunctivitis to stop. The veterinarian must identify the allergen in question and prescribe the appropriate solution. Of course, the veterinarian must first make sure that it is indeed an allergic conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis due to dry eyes

When the dog has dry eyes, dust accumulates on the surface of the eyes because it cannot be eliminated naturally through tears. This dryness of the eyes causes superficial irritation.

However, it is important to know that dry eyes are sometimes due to a serious illness such as diabetes. Therefore, this eye problem should not be trivialized. A visit to the veterinarian should be considered as soon as possible.

Infectious conjunctivitis

Infectious conjunctivitis in dogs can be caused by a fungus (mycotic origin), a bacterium (bacterial origin) or a virus (viral origin). Whatever the cause, the symptomatology is always the same: the eyelids are more or less red and pus flows from time to time. It is important to be very vigilant when this type of manifestation is observed in the dog, and not to conclude too hastily that it is due to conjunctivitis. These symptoms may also indicate a generalized infection, cancer or distemper.

Various examinations are essential to allow the veterinarian to make a precise diagnosis so that he can set up a protocol of care adapted to each case.

Conjunctivitis due to a foreign body

While playing or roaming in the wild, the dog is frequently exposed to the risk of receiving a foreign body in the eye, such as a twig, grains of sand or even an insect. This causes irritation. The white of the eye is more or less pink, there is abnormal tearing and the animal tends to blink frequently or tries to run its paw over this sensitive area because it is uncomfortable.

When a foreign body is the cause of conjunctivitis, the veterinarian must be consulted quickly to remove the intruder, clean the affected eye and, if necessary, administer a local treatment to restore the condition.

Conjunctivitis in dogs: treatment and prevention

Since conjunctivitis in dogs has many different causes, it is understandable that the treatment also varies from one animal to another. The first step is to identify the cause of the conjunctivitis so that the dog can benefit from a treatment that is perfectly adapted to his case. This means that the dog should be seen by a veterinarian, preferably as soon as possible.

Prevention of this condition is only possible in certain cases. An up-to-date vaccination and a balanced diet of high quality for an optimal immune system are among the precautions to take. You can also reduce the risk of conjunctivitis due to dust and dust mites by cleaning your dog's bed, carpet, blanket, toys and kennel regularly. This is essential to eliminate most of the allergens.

Finally, we also advise you to clean your dog's eyes often with an adapted solution that can be bought in a pharmacy after having asked your veterinarian for advice. In fact, you should never use just any product to treat or clean your pet's eye area.