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Dogs can often suffer from conjunctivitis, and just like humans, get it at any point in their lives. Conjunctivitis is also a chronic disease, which means that even after your dog recovers from it, it can come back.

Getting to know more about conjunctivitis will help you recognize the first signs and treat it as soon as possible. 

Why Does Conjunctivitis Occur? 

Conjunctivitis is an eye inflammation that occurs when the conjunctiva, the tissue that covers the inner side of the eyelids, gets inflamed or irritated. It can appear on one or both eyes, and it’s caused by different reasons.

Conjunctivitis in dogs has three types:

  • Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by an allergic reaction, usually seasonal, and it’s not contagious.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis can be brought on by a bacterial infection of the eye. This type of conjunctivitis is contagious and spreads easily. 
  • Viral conjunctivitis gets triggered by a viral infection. This one can also be easily spread and takes about three weeks until a dog is completely recovered.

Some Breeds Are More Exposed to Getting Conjunctivitis

Some dog breeds are more prone to getting this eye infection, but don’t forget that all of them can easily develop this disease. Because of their genetics and facial anatomy, some dogs’ eyes are more sensitive and exposed to irritants or debris.

Take special care of your dog’s eyes if you have:

  • Retrievers
  • Pugs
  • Poodles
  • Hounds
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Pekingese

How to Recognize Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is also called “pink eye” which says a lot about how it looks. Therefore, watch out for inflammation that makes your dog’s eyes red, and for the yellow-green discharge coming from the eyes.

If you notice that your dog is blinking and squinting a lot, and tries to rub its eyes, maybe that could be a sign of conjunctivitis too. Sometimes dogs’ eyelids can get stuck or swollen.

As soon as you notice any of the signs of conjunctivitis, contact or visit your veterinarian, as this disease must be treated medically. Missing to treat conjunctivitis can leave bad consequences for your dog’s health and it could harm its eyes.

How Is Conjunctivitis Diagnosed? 

Conjunctivitis can only be diagnosed with a veterinarian examination. A vet will first give a dog an anesthetic drops into the affected eye, to make it easier for the dog to take and tolerate the examination.

The vet will check for debris or foreign particles in the eye, to check if that caused the irritations and the infection of the eyelid. If that is not the case, conjunctivitis can also appear as a result of an allergy, or even as a result of another underlying condition.

Conjunctivitis can occur as a result of a respiratory infection, or even a more serious corneal ulcer which, if suspected, should be examined further. Depending on the cause and type of conjunctivitis, the vet will set the diagnosis and prescribe a proper treatment. 

How to Treat Dog Conjunctivitis? 

As mentioned above, the treatment of dog conjunctivitis will very much depend on its type and cause, and you should never treat your dog with anything other than what your vet prescribed. You should never use any meds prescribed to another dog, and especially not anything that is made for humans, as it can be harmful to your dog's eyes.

For example, bacterial conjunctivitis will require antibiotic eye drops, while allergic or viral conjunctivitis will need cold compresses or steroid eye drops. However, if the cornea is damaged, improper medication could do a lot of damage to the eye or even cause blindness.

Whatever the medication or treatment is prescribed, your vet will explain to you how to deal with it step by step, how to keep your dog calm, apply drops, etc.

Is It Possible to Prevent Conjunctivitis in Dogs?

There are some things you could do to prevent or at least minimize the risk of exposing your dog to conjunctivitis. You can avoid keeping your dog in places with a lot of dust, smoke, perfume, and other airborne irritants.

Keep an eye on dogs when they play in the dust, and check their eyes for debris or injuries. Another thing to think about is to keep your dog away from other infected dogs, as some types of conjunctivitis can be contagious.

Finally, make sure you visit your vet regularly, and that your dog gets all necessary vaccinations. Some vaccines are there to stop diseases that can lead to conjunctivitis, among other health problems.

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