Canine conjunctivitis, a condition similar to pink eye in people, should be treated promptly, as it can lead to more serious conditions and eye diseases in dogs.
Simply stated, dog conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva of your dog’s eyes. The conjunctiva is a very thin membrane on the inside of your dog’s eyelid, and it actually extends to the cornea of the eye.
The conjunctiva makes tears, protects the eyes from foreign invaders and helps heal the cornea, if it is injured. It is the first defense against infection for your Weimaraner’s eyes.
Contrary to what you may think, dogs of any age contract canine conjunctivitis. We see this condition in younger dogs, as well as seniors.
Unfortunately, Weimaraners in particular, seem to have problems with eye irritations. This is because they are carefree and easy, when running through fields and brush.
Any scratch, foreign body, or irritation can cause canine conjunctivitis.
Dog Pink Eye
Usually the conjunctiva guards the eyes and prevents bacteria and viruses from entering your dog’s eyes.
However, sometimes the conjunctiva itself gets irritated, itchy and sore. When this happens, your dog has canine conjunctivitis, or dog pink eye.
Conjunctivitis has a number of causes:
- bacteria or viruses – the most common cause
- irritation from fumes or pollution
- foreign body in the eye (dirt, matter, sand, seed, sticker, etc.)
- a dog’s hanging its head out the window of a car – leading to dry eyes or a foreign body or insect in your dog’s eye
- entropion (turning inward of the eyelid)
- trichaisis (growing inward of the eyelashes)
- ectropion (turning outward of the lower eyelid)
- sinusitis or other respiratory infections
- seasonal allergies – perhaps the 2nd most common cause
- blocked tear ducts
Symptoms of Canine Conjunctivitis
Your dog’s eyes and their appearance
The symptoms of dog conjunctivitis are similar to those seen in people with Pink Eye. The whites of the eyes will appear to be red and swollen.
Often you will see lots of tears and sometimes pus coming from your dog’s eyes. If both eyes are affected, it’s probably a bacterial or viral infection.
If only one eye is affected, it is usually caused by a foreign object, inflammation of the tear duct or dry eye.
Your dog’s behavior
Because your dog’s eyes will hurt or itch (or both), you will see him rubbing his eyes with his paws and blinking a lot. If he is causing more irritation or harm to his eyes, you may have to put him in an Elizabethan collar for a few days.
Your dog may rub his paws on his eyes or he may rub his eyes and head against furniture, your legs, the bed. Anything he can rub his eyes on.
Your vet’s diagnosis
Usually the veterinarian will diagnose the condition, based on symptoms, although this can be tough.
In addition, he may also want to do a culture. A culture will determine exactly what kind of organism is infecting your dog’s eyes. When your vet knows what is infecting your dog, he will know what treatment to suggest!
In addition, the vet may do a Schirmer Tear Test and occasionally will order a biopsy.
Treatment of Conjunctivitis in Dogs
Treatment is fairly simple. First, you need to clean your dog’s eyes. This is to remove any foreign bodies or organisms.
Following that, you will probably have to use eye drops for conjunctivitis daily and possibly medicine by mouth.
Often you can prevent or heal an eye infection by using a product like Zoetis Animal Health Terramycin Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment . This soothes simple irritations and prevents further injury to the eyes.
If your dog has had problems with canine conjunctivitis, consider using a non-irritating product like Vetericyn Plus Animal Eye Wash. This will help prevent dog eye problems in the future.
Of all the canine eye problems that you could encounter, dog conjunctivitis is probably the least troublesome. If handled promptly, it is usually easy to treat and your dog will recover fully.