Eye infections can be a regular occurrence among dog’s, many dog owners may face the most common infection called Conjunctivitis. Also known as “Pink Eye” Conjunctivitis is not only a known to effect humans but also dogs too, the signs of this infection are identical to those seen on humans such as: redness, discharge from the eye and irritation. In this week “Dog Health Blog” we have put together a quick guide of the signs to look out for and some tips on how to prevent and cure this infection.
What exactly is Conjunctivitis?
This common infection is caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva (the inner tissue surrounding your dog’s eye lid and also white section of their eyes). Bacterial Conjunctivitis is exactly what the name suggests, this is a bacterial infection which can be triggered as a result of such things as an eye injury or respiratory issue. Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) can also be caused from many airborne irritants which are invisible in your home to the human eye although still actively in the air, things such as perfumes, cigarette smoke and dust can be a few of the main contributors of this infection. The infection can also be passed from pet to pet, if you have another dog who has this infection we recommend keeping them apart until it is clear to avoid further spreading of the infection within the home.
What to look out for?
As a bacterial infection, Conjunctivitis can be difficult and at time near impossible to avoid as eyes in both humans and pets naturally attract bacteria, though this doesn’t mean you can’t act quickly to cure this common infection.
Dogs who are suffering from Conjunctivitis will show many visual signs which are easy to spot such as eye discharge, redness, cloudiness in the eye and also squinting (similar to if you have an eye lash in your own eye) .As the infection spreads your dog’s eyes will also start to show other signs of the infection building up with an increase in tear and mucus around their eye lid and eye ball as well as swelling around the same area. To fight the itch many dog’s will also start to rub their eyes against furniture within the home, along the floor and also rub their own eyes continuously with their paws. Just like humans the first reaction to an itchy area especially around the face area is to scratch it to reduce the unpleasant itch.
I think my dog may have Conjunctivitis, what should I do?
We recommend seeking veterinary advice as soon as your see any visual signs of an eye infection or if you feel there may be early signs , if left too long a small infection can easily spread and cause serious damaged to your dog’s eye with many reports of permanent damage or even blindness. A quick trip to the vet will not only put your mind at ease but may also help you catch the infection sooner rather than later before things get worse. Your local vet may recommend an easy home remedy for the infection or prescribe an ointment depending on which stage the infection has reached.
Generally Conjunctivitis is easily treated and not life threatening, however it should not be taken lightly and you should act fast (after all us humans wouldn’t like to be stuck with an eye infection and we are certain your dog won’t be enjoying their itch either). If your vet feels that the infection cannot be simply treated with a warm salt water solution they may opt for a prescribed eye solution to treat the infected area.
During your visit to your local vet, your vet will ask questions to help them determine the initial cause of the infection as well as checking for any underlying health issues which may be associated with the infection. This diagnosis will help them determine the best course of action and which treatment plan will cure your dog not only the quickest but most importantly the safest way.
There is also many home remedies which may help reduce the itch, however we do recommend seeking professional help and discussing these natural treatments with your vet before treating at home.
The psychical examination: Your vet will apply a liquid topical anaesthetic directly to the eye area, this is applied to prevent any pain of discomfort to your dog while they examine the affected area. Don’t worry this will not harm your dog and your vet is professionally trained to do this and can perform this several times per any given day for many of the dog’s who walk through their doors. After a few minutes and once the anaesthetic has taken effect your vet will begin to examine the area in more depth, checking for any foreign bodies that may be lodged within the eye area, wounds and other potential causes of the Conjunctivitis infection. They may also preform respiratory check as this infection is at times closely associated with this type of infection.
After these initial checks they may also perform a test on the eye condition, this is achieved by staining the eye with a dye. If you have ever been to the optician for your own eyes you may have experienced this yourself, this is the same for pets as the rules and checks are the same. This fluorescein dye will show any imperfections on their retina and surrounding area, the unique solution will stick to any scratches, wounds or ulcers which may not be visible to the human eye. If your dog has no issues then the dye will simply disappear and become invisible after a few minutes. This stain solution is widely used through the medical & veterinary profession and is safe for the use on pets.
How do I treat Conjunctivitis?
Treating the infection: The most common solution to treat the infected area is by means of eye drops or antibiotic ointment which your vet will prescribe to you. This will be applied initially by your vet will during your consultation, when you are home this will then be applied by yourself. If you are unsure or have any questions about applying the drops or just simply a bit wary about doing it yourself then its best to discuss this during your visit. Your vet will be more than happy to spend time with you to discuss the best techniques, after all we all need help sometimes and who better to learn from than first hand from a professional.
If your vet suspects that the infection is related to a respiratory condition then they may also prescribe an oral antibiotic, this may be offered in tablet form or liquid syringe depending on your dog’s age, breed & health.
Things to remember: Always wash your hands before applying any treatment, after all we don’t want to add to the infection with any dirt which may transfer from our own hands into the infected area.
Always was your hands after handling any medication, this is for your own health well-being and this rule applies to not only pet medicine but also human medicine too.
Has your dog suffered from a bacterial infection such as Conjunctivitis? Comment below about your own journey and any tips you may have to share with your fellow dog owners.