What is Pink Eye?
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Symptoms of Pink Eye in Dogs
- Redness and swelling of the eyes
- Watery or mucous discharge from the eyes
- Abnormal squinting
- Frequent blinking
- Pawing or rubbing of eyes
- Excessive discharge from nose
Causes of Pink Eye in Dogs
- Environmental irritation such as mites, dust, pollen, and smoke
- Obstructed tear ducts
- Bacterial infection such as streptococcus and staphylococcus
- Viral infection such as Canine Distemper Virus
- Congenital or breed-specific ailments and abnormalities
- Bacterial infection
- Viral illness
- Congenital defect
Diagnosis of Pink Eye in Dogs
Owners should monitor their dog’s eyes for redness and swelling. Sometimes, blowing dust or a swim in murky water can cause temporary irritation, but if these symptoms do not go away after a couple of hours, or there is mucous discharge present, see a veterinarian right away.
The veterinarian’s aim will be to determine whether conjunctivitis is the only problem, or if it is indicative of an underlying condition. This will involve an eye exam to check whether there is any damage to the eye itself or associated structures like tear ducts, eyelashes and eyelids. The veterinarian may take a swab of any discharge to determine the type of infection. This sample will be cultured to identify the infection and prescribe a suitable medication.
If an underlying condition beyond infection is suspected, tear production tests, corneal stain tests, or measurement of intra-ocular pressure may be taken to make sure any of the eye’s functions are not impaired. Any physical abnormalities will also be assessed for surgical correction, possibly including a biopsy, where a sample of tissue will be taken for laboratory testing to rule out malignancy. However, tumors of the eyelids and conjunctiva are uncommon.
Treatment of Pink Eye in Dogs
If your dog is prone to allergic or environmental irritation of the eyes, your veterinarian may prescribe eyedrops to lubricate the eye and flush out any irritants. Additionally, antihistamines may be prescribed in eyedrop, pill or syrup form to ease discomfort from allergies as needed. These are low-risk treatments easily administered at home. Allergies or irritation may be acute (temporary) or chronic conditions, but pose little threat to health if properly managed.Infection
If the cultures come back as positive for a bacterial infection, an appropriate antibiotic will be prescribed, such as oxytetracycline, tobramycin, or ciprofloxacin. These may come in eyedrop, ointment or pill form, and are usually administered over a period of 1-3 weeks. For treatment to be effective, the entire course of antibiotics should be taken, even if symptoms improve before the last dose is reached. Antibiotics do carry some risk of side effects such as vomiting and gastrointestinal distress, but these are usually mild, especially if taken as directed. In the rare case of antibiotic-resistant infection, a multi-drug approach may be taken. Usually infections are rare and unlikely to re-occur, but frequent interaction with contaminated material (e.g. toilet water getting in eyes from drinking) may cause relapse. A clean and well-ventilated living space greatly reduces risk.Underlying Condition
Conjunctivitis is sometimes a symptom of an underlying condition, such as Canine Distemper Virus or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, also called Dry Eye. Congenital defects of the eye, such as those common among collies, may also increase susceptibility to conjunctivitis. In this case, the veterinarian will treat your dog according to the underlying condition or defect, which may include treating for infection as described above. This treatment approach will vary based on the specific condition.
Recovery of Pink Eye in Dogs
Follow-up appointments may be needed if you are unsure whether the infection has cleared, or if any problem with the medication has emerged. Your veterinarian will have helpful tips on managing symptoms and successfully administering medication. Follow the directions for the medication, which may involve administering before or between meals. Keep your dog away from dusty, dry or especially dirty areas while recovering from conjunctivitis, and monitor their symptoms for changes. Recovery time for irritant-based conjunctivitis is often a few hours to a few days. Infectious conjunctivitis usually clears in 1-2 weeks. Other types will depend on the root cause and the management of the underlying condition.
Pink Eye Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I have a Maltese/bichion he woke up yesterday with his eye red, watery and closed there hasn't been much discharge. I took him to the vet and she said that it looked like he has conjectvities. She gave me eye drops to put in in both eyes 3 times a day. But my question is how do I know if it can be a result from the destemper virus. My dog was up on his Bordettella and DhHP vaccine last month on Oct 26 I haven't had the chance to get them and I take him for walks around neighborhood could he have contracted it? Or am I just over analyzing it and it's just a simple pink eye. He is also getting vaccinated om saturday.
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I think my dog might have pink eye because her outer corner of her right eye is red and has discharge coming from it. She doesn't seem to be bothered with it as she's not rubbing her eye. What can I do to treat it.
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His sclera is red in both eyes, he is either unable or it is uncomfortable to keep his eyelids fully open. There doesn't seem to be any discharge other than his normal morning "eye goop". He was rubbing one eye this morning but I haven't observed him doing that more today.
It sounds like Ragnar has conjunctivitis; try to use an antibiotic ophthalmic ointment that you can pick up from a pet shop or pharmacy to see if that helps; if you notice abnormalities of the eyelids (rolling in or hairs pressing against the eye) you should visit your Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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