Every different breed of dog has a lot of similarities and contrasting features. Due to this, they are distinguishable and have a unique and special identity. But among the similarities, health issues are quite common in most of them.
A lot of dogs suffer from congenital ones while some issues acquire during a lifetime. Among others, one such usually addressed issue is Conjunctivitis in dogs. It is also known as suffering from pink eyes. Thus, for early treatment and care, it is important to identify the signs and act as per need.
Conjunctivitis in Dogs- An overview
Inflammation or tenderness in the membranous layer of the eyeball is Conjunctivitis. This membrane or conjunctiva secretes mucus.
Like humans have eyelids, dogs too have them. They have an extra layer in the distant corner of the eye. When these membranes swell up, it turns into reddish-pink color.
Membranes are a protective layer for the eyes and are quite delicate. Changes in them irritate and cause discomfort. Conjunctivitis in dogs can be infectious as well as non-infectious. It depends on the reasons for its cause.
As a pet parent, regular grooming and brushing are necessary. It not only helps in enhancing their appearance but also keeps them clean. Conjunctivitis may not be visible. Keeping a close watch on their eyes will help in early detection.
Thus, to help and support your dog from discomfort, first, you must have a basic idea about it. Below mentioned are some identifying signs and their reasons.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis in Dogs
Eye infections are visible in humans. But in dogs, it is difficult. Most of the eyeballs in them are not visible nor the infection in them. Yet, in case you notice the following, you must take the necessary actions.
Swelling: The initial stage and the basic symptom of Conjunctivitis are eye inflammation. The swelling of the tissues causes the swelling of the membrane lying about it. As a result, the nictitating membrane, which usually lies in the eye’s distant corner, shows up. It covers the lens and causes difficulty in vision.
Discharge: Another sign of Conjunctivitis is continuous discharge from the eye. Look out for frequent accumulation of water-based material in their eyes. These discharges may be either clear as water or maybe thick as mucous.
Increase in rate of blinking: Conjunctivitis accompanies frequent blinking of the eye. If you notice an increase in regular blinks, it might be a sign of infection.
Irritation: Your pet might be scratching their eyes with their paws every now and then. Swelling in the membranes causes irritation. Scratching relieves the discomfort.
Unable to open eyes: Swelling leads to closed eyes. In some cases, dogs with Conjunctivitis either have one eye closed or both of them.
Reasons behind Conjunctivitis in Dogs
Identifying that your pet is suffering from Conjunctivitis is the initial phase. As a pet parent, you must also analyze the various reasons behind it. It will help you take precautionary measures in the future. Some of the causes are as follows:
Viral: Most eye infections result due to the attack of viruses. Sensitive dogs are more prone to these infections.
Low immunity: Conjunctivitis results due to a lack of immunity power. These dogs are allergic to specific materials like pollen, dust, or dirt. Some are allergic to dog shampoos and smoke too.
Underlying conditions: Conjunctivitis may be a result of some other severe issues. Like growth of tumors in the eyes, blockage in the tear duct, or abnormalities in the eyelids.
Brachycephalic: Those dogs who have a flat head and face suffer from Conjunctivitis.
Foreign materials: Irritation in the eyes occurs when minute particles enter like grass, soil particles, etc.
Eye injury: Redness in the eye can be due to internal injury. Like blow, bite, or fall from height.
These above-mentioned reasons can be a cause of Conjunctivitis in dogs. Sometimes it can also be a combination of more than one reason. Conjunctivitis is infectious when it is a bacterial or parasitic infection.
Early identification will reduce the risk of infecting the other eye. Thus, prevent your dog from visiting outdoors or play with other dogs. It will omit the risk of transferring the infection to others.
Treatment and remedies of Conjunctivitis
As soon as you notice discomfort in your pet’s eyes, seek the doctor’s advice. Early treatment will help him recover soon. Likewise, it will also help you identify the reason behind it. It is necessary for preventing such infections in the future to the most possibilities.
Treating Conjunctivitis due to accidental entry of foreign particles is by removing. If you can notice it, do not try to remove it on your own. Eyes are a delicate part of the body. Self-removal may do more harm. Visit a doctor for a thorough examination. He will use sterilized instruments and expertise for removal.
Medication for bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection. The veterinarian mill prescribes your dog some antiviral medicines. These are generally in the form of eye drops. Apply it as per prescription.
Severe injuries due to external force will need specific treatment. The doctor might undertake a special examination, like an x-ray or other related tests. In case of serious issues, your dog will need hospitalization. The doctor might operate for treating the damaged areas. One or two days under observation is preferable in these instances.
Infections or abnormalities may occur due to genetic reasons. Although it cannot end, relieving discomfort is possible. Doctors might ask for surgery in eye abnormalities. But there are risks involved like loss of vision. Another way is long-time treatment through medication.
Dry eyes are another reason for the occurrence of Conjunctivitis often. It is due to the inability of tear ducts in the eyes to provide moisture. Correction for blockage in tear ducts needs surgery. Medicines also help in stimulating and increasing the capacity of tear ducts. It will help in releasing more water and keep the eyes moist and clean.
Apart from clinical treatment, home remedies are also an option. These are useful for those who suffer from Conjunctivitis often. But, always seek your doctor’s advice before practicing any home remedies. They are natural and soothing to pets.
- Whenever you notice swelling or redness in dogs’ eyes, rinse it with a splash of clean water.
- Saltwater is an alternative to minor issues of Conjunctivitis. For preparing it, be careful while measuring the salt. Use only a half teaspoon of it and mix it in clean and hygienic water.
- If the reason for swelling is due to dryness, keep the eyes moist. Dip a clean cloth in water and wipe off the eyes. Repeat the step after every small interval.
- Do not throw away a used tea-bag. Using a dampened tea bag around the eyes soothes the irritation.
These remedies work well when infections are mild. Severe Conjunctivitis will need specific medical treatment. You may use home remedies as soon as you identify.
Even if the situation does not become better, take your pet to a doctor’s clinic. The more you delay, the more it will harm the eye. Immediate treatment will reduce further damage. It will also yield the exact reason.
Dogs with severe infections of Conjunctivitis may need more time to recover.
- Medicines will take their own duration to act on the body. Some dogs who are receptive and respond well will take less time.
- Antibiotics and antiviral show their action after a specific time. These will create antibodies in the body, fight the antigens, and then recover.
Others will need less. But those with mild symptoms usually recover fast. Home remedies act faster on basic symptoms. But continue to apply them for a longer duration, even after recovery.
Your responsibility as a pet parent does not end here. Recovery from Conjunctivitis is the beginning. To ensure that these infections do not relapse or reoccur, prevention is the key. Below mentioned measures will help in keeping your pet dog safe from eye infections.
Sanitize: Ensure to keep all the surroundings clean and sanitized. While applying for medicines, make sure your hands are clean. Do not use contaminated hands while applying home remedies.
Mild shampoo: Bathing is important for dogs, but after a specific interval. Use a mild dog shampoo to clean the coat and skin of your pet. A strong one often irritates the skin and the eyes. Ask for a medicated shampoo from the doctor, which is gentle on the eyes.
Grooming: Regular grooming is essential for every pet dog. Reduce the length of the hair or fur around the eyes. Long hairs often enter the eyes and cause infection from dirt in the hair. Ensure that the nails of paws are short. No damage will be caused with short nails while using it to wipe or scratch irritating eyes. Longer nails have a risk of infection or injuries in the eyes.
Brushing: Some dogs shed skin twice a year, while others throughout the year. Loose hair, when entered the eyes, can also cause damage and lead to swelling or Conjunctivitis. Use a dog brush to extract the dead or loose hair from the skin and coat. It will neither enter the eyes nor will create a mess in the house.
Clean the eye: those dogs with frequent eye issues should maintain the hygiene of the eyes. Make sure to wipe their eyes at least twice a day. Use a clean cotton ball or cloth and water. Ensure to use a moist cloth to wipe off the dust after returning from outdoor activities.
Healthy diet: Provide your pet dog a healthy and nutritious meal. Make sure not to entertain them with unhealthy treats. A well-balanced diet contains all essential nutrients. They help in brain and eye development from a young age and enhance visual abilities. A healthy meal will make the immune system stronger. It will help to recover from allergic Conjunctivitis faster.
Taking good care of your dog is a necessity. Maintaining health and hygiene will keep them away from infections. Consult a doctor for every health issue, including the eyes. Provide them support and affection during unhealthy days.