Pink Eye In Dogs And What To Do About It

Pink eye, also called red eye, is fairly common in dogs. The formal medical term for this condition is conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the delicate layer of tissue that coats the eye and the inside of the eyelids. 

Symptoms of pink eye can include redness of the eye, watery eyes or stringy mucusy discharge, puffiness of the eyelids and sticking together of the eyelids. In addition, your dog may paw at his eyes and squint as well.

Pink eye can affect dogs of any age and can be an isolated condition or be present because of another underlying eye condition. It can begin in one eye and remain there, but not uncommonly, can spread to the other eye as well.

There are three main causes of pink eye:

One – Allergic conjunctivitis – this type of pink eye is often seasonal and is not contagious, as it’s caused by an allergic reaction to things such as pollen, mold, dander, dust mites, drugs and even certain cosmetics and perfumes.

Two – Viral conjunctivitis – is caused by a virus, is very contagious and can take several weeks to resolve completely.

Three – Bacterial conjunctivitis – caused by a bacteria, and is also very contagious.

Pink eye is not something to try to treat on your own. First of all, you need a correct diagnosis and also want to be certain there is no underlying eye condition that is causing the pink eye, such as an eye injury or ulcer that potentially cause blindness.

Depending on the cause, your veterinarian will likely prescribe treatments that may include cold compresses, steroid eye drops, antibiotic drops or ointment or other treatments. 

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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