Issue Description It is an inflammation of the membrane covering
the inside of the eyelids and the front of the eye also called the
mucous membranes of the eye. It often just affects one eye, although
it can affect both. The eye becomes red and inflamed. There may be
clear or mucous discharge from the eye. Other Names Conjunctivitis, Canine Pink Eye
Causes Canine Conjunctivitis or Dog Pinkeye comes in a
number of different forms, and can be caused by a number of different
factors. One of the most common causes is an irritant in the eye,
which leads to inflammation and eventually infection. This can be
anything from dirt to a piece of wood to a small insect. Damage to the
eye can often result from a scuffle your dog as been in with another
animal, leading to the development of pinkeye in many cases.
Aside from foreign bodies, Conjunctivitis is caused by either viral or
bacterial infections. The bacterial variety is the most common form of
this infection, and is typically spread by contact. This can mean
contact with humans who are carrying the disease, other dogs, or even
flying insects. The viral kind of Pinkeye is transmitted in much the
same way. Some of the viruses that cause Pinkeye are airborne, and
little can be done to protect against them. This kind of infection is
much more common during the winter, when viruses tend to proliferate
due to the humidity and dampness of the air. Another potential cause
is an allergic reaction. Your dog may be sensitive to certain kinds of
perfume, foods, or other allergens associated with the onset of
spring. These allergens can cause sinus irritation as well as
inflammation of the mucus membranes, and often leads to the
development of Pinkeye. The severity of inflammation varies with each
case, ranging from a minor swelling to highly inflamed membranes,
which can cause the eye to be swollen shut. In addition to the
swelling, the infected eye will often begin to emit a distinctive
discharge. While some eye discharge is actually quite normal in most
dogs, with Canine Conjunctivitis the discharge will be far more
pronounced, often mixed with pus. This fluid can build up around the
eye, impeding your dog's ability to blink or open its eye normally.
Symptoms Along with the pronounced pink color in the
eyeball, the surrounding tissue, such as the eyelid and other nearby
areas, will become swollen or inflamed.
Diagnosis Usually the veterinarian will make the
diagnosis based on symptoms. He may also want to do a culture to see
exactly what kind of organism has infected the eyes.
Treatment All cases of conjunctivitis should be treated
at once. A culture and sensitivity test may be necessary to determine
if bacteria are the cause, and if so, what medication should be used
for treatment. Scrapings of the conjunctiva can be made and examined
to test for various viral infections.
Eye drops or
ointments are usually the drugs of choice. Eye drops are watery
solutions that must be applied every few hours, while ointments last
longer and are usually only applied two to three times per day.
If the cause is suspected to be allergy, then various medications are
available containing anti-inflammatories, usually hydrocortisones. If
the cause is an infection, then bactericidal or fungicidal ointments
or solutions may be applied. In severe cases, oral antibiotics are
used in addition to the topical preparations. Most cases will respond
to treatment, however, it may take one to two weeks to fully recover.
In general, treatment is continued for several days after the eye
regains its normal appearance.
Many eye ointments
containing hydrocortisones and antibiotics are available and are
frequently used when the exact cause of the problem is unknown. It is
important however, not to use hydrocortisone-containing agents if a
corneal ulcer is present. Hydrocortisone, although great at minimizing
eye inflammation, may actually hinder the healing of or worsen an