Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?

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Pink eye is an unsightly condition. Yes, the pun was intended here. Pink eye in humans can be uncomfortable, irritating and unattractive, but can your dog get pink eye? If so, what are the possible dangers for your dog?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they're more visible. This is what causes the whites of your eyes to appear reddish or pink.” In short, it is an irritation in the eye that has many causes, such as bacterial or viral infection and allergies. What you need to know about pink eye is that it can be contagious if the cause is a bacterial or viral infection, and this condition should be treated with care so as not to spread.

Can Dogs Get Pink Eye?

YES!

Yes, dogs and other animals can get pink eye. Although the eyes of humans and animals like dogs are very different, dogs can get pink eye, and have many of the same symptoms as humans when it comes to this condition.

Does My Dog Have Pink Eye?

Although pink eye is not exactly a fun condition to have, one positive aspect is that it is fairly noticeable, and therefore easy to diagnose. The symptoms of pink eye can include:

  • 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

  • Sneezing

  • Coughing

The causes of pink eye are not always as apparent. You may want to work with your vet to find the specific cause of your dog’s pink eye so that you can keep this from happening again.

  • 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

When you take your dog to your veterinarian for pink eye, the first object they will address will be to find out if the condition is pink eye or if the problem goes deeper. Your vet will give your dog an eye examination to assess the situation, and then will take a sample of any eye discharge and test it. They will prescribe a medication based on the results of this test.

For more in-depth information about your dog’s pink eye, read more at: Pink Eye in Dogs.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Pink Eye?

There are several different ways to treat pink eye, depending on what has caused the condition in the first place.


Irritation (Environmental)

  • Eyedrops

  • Antihistamines

  • Removal of allergen

Infection

  • Antibiotic, such as oxytetracycline, tobramycin, or ciprofloxacin

Underlying Conditions (Treatment will depend on condition)

How is Pink Eye Similar in Dogs and Humans?

Surprisingly, pink eye in dogs and humans is quite similar. Many of the symptoms are the same. Pink eye is contagious no matter what species has this condition, although many times, pink eye in dogs is caused by environmental issues (allergies), which is not contagious. To be on the safe side, it would be a good idea to use gloves when coming into contact with you dog’s face, and frequently wash your hands if you are worried that your dog might have pink eye.

How is Pink Eye Different in Dogs and Humans?

Although pink eye is visibly noticeable in both humans and dogs, it might be a little less visible in dogs. Because the whites of our eyes are more visible to someone looking into our eyes, you might need to pull your dog’s eyelid gently back to see the redness. There are also other signs, such as your dog itching his/her eyes. In this case, it just takes some simple observation.

Case Study

In this case study, a dog was brought in with red, swollen eyes. The dog was in obvious discomfort, and was sneezing and coughing.

The veterinarian took a sample of the dog’s eye discharge. The tests resulted in an allergy diagnosis. The vet prescribed eye drops to lubricate the eyes and antihistamines to get the allergies under control.

The dog’s allergies cleared up in a couple of days and was able to overcome this condition.