These are extremely painful, stinging and itchy for dogs, so that should be acted quickly. ( 4 )
What are the causes?
The inflammation is often triggered by bacteria and viruses, but also by allergies, dust or dry eyes. Fungi and parasites can also cause conjunctivitis in dogs. ( 5 )
Hereditary dog breeds such as cocker spaniels, Great Danes or German Boxers suffer more often from conjunctivitis than other breeds. The reasons are mostly malpositions of the eyelid, a reduced eyelid fire or hairy eyelid edges close to the eye. Other breeds also include pugs, French bulldogs, and bloodhounds. ( 6 )
How is the diagnosis made?
If you recognize the symptoms in your four-legged friend, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible, because no one wants to leave their pet exposed to pain for so long. There the veterinarian will first of all. Thoroughly inspect its surroundings. This is how the doctor can detect possible foreign bodies that have entered the body. Possibly remove it immediately. For the removal the eye is then often anesthetized. Certain tests are also performed, which then help the veterinarian determine whether or not the cornea may be damaged. In addition, it is examined whether sufficient tear fluid is present.
A final swab of the conjunctiva, which is examined in detail in the laboratory, is used if it is suspected that the infection was caused by bacteria or viruses.
After these tests your veterinarian will be able to tell you exactly in what form and to what extent your dog suffers from conjunctivitis and give you appropriate means of treatment. ( 7 )
When is conjunctivitis in dogs contagious?
Whether an infectious conjunctivitis is transmissible to other dogs or even humans depends on the cause. Since the infection usually occurs through the hands, regular hand washing after touching the dog's eye helps to prevent transmission to humans.
Conversely, bacteria can theoretically also be transmitted from humans to dogs. Whether an animal really becomes infected and sick depends, among other things, on its immune system and on the infectiousness of the bacteria. ( 8 )
What are the consequences of non-treatment?
In uncomplicated cases, conjunctivitis in dogs usually heals without consequences if treated properly. However, if left untreated, conjunctivitis can lead to various complications. In the worst case, the damage to the eye can progress to blindness.
Sometimes surgical interventions are necessary, especially if foreign bodies or parasites in the eye have to be removed. Ticks, for example, like to nest in the eye. Removing the parasite with common tools like tick nippers is difficult or impossible in this case. If remnants of the tick remain in the eye, serious inflammation can occur. ( 9 )
Healing: The best tips& Tricks for the fastest possible cure
If you are now sure that the dog has conjunctivitis, you should act accordingly. For this purpose, a few helpful tips are listed below.
Cleaning the eye
Of course, it is important that the dog's eye should always be kept clean. A soft, clean cloth and lukewarm (preferably boiled) water can be used to clean the dog's eye of excessive eye discharge or dried secretions.
Only the area around the eye and the corner of the eye are cleaned. Touching the cornea should be avoided, as it is unpleasant and painful for the dog and can damage the cornea.
Whether your dog already suffers from conjunctivitis or not, but at the latest when it is inflamed, your dog is more sensitive to external influences, such as light or any other body.
The dog glasses protect against insects and dust particles flying into the eyes. How uncomfortable this is, you probably know from yourself. UV light is also not good for dogs' eyes in the long run. The dog glasses are therefore not a mere fashion accessory that humanizes the dog, but a tangible protection.
Treatment with medication
There are many medications that can be used to treat conjunctivitis in dogs. In the following we have given you some medicines. Their scope of application listed.
In the case of long-lasting or even chronic conjunctivitis, a visit to the vet is urgently recommended, especially if the eye begins to fester.
The veterinarian will first prescribe eye drops, eye ointments or eye gels, which usually contain an antibiotic agent. ( 10 ) If the pain is very severe, the vet might prescribe additional painkillers.
Treatment with home remedies
In addition to medicinal treatment, there are also some home remedies that you can access. In any case, you should first discuss the use of any home remedy with a doctor. In addition, you should know that not all animals put up with such treatment.
Some people rely on cold quark pads for conjunctivitis. The home remedy has a cooling, decongestant and anti-inflammatory effect. For this you only have to dip a clean cotton cloth in cool water and coat it with some curd. A small area as large as the eye is sufficient for this purpose. You have to fold this cloth a little bit then. Finally put on the closed eye. Now put the ends of the cloth together to form a packet. Leave the Quarkauflage but only as long on the eye, as it is pleasantly cold or the Quark is dry. You can make infusions with this. Use this in lukewarm eye pads. Rinsing should only be done in sterile application. Also require experience with medicinal plants. Chamomile tea is not suitable for use on the eye in dogs. Chamomile dries out sensitive mucous membranes too much. ( 11 )
The duration of conjunctivitis depends on the severity and the trigger and varies accordingly. It can be cured after a few days without complications, but it can also take weeks, especially in the case of serious infections. ( 12 ) In general, rest is called for so that your dog can regain his strength and this is best done in a comfortable place without drafts. Conjunctivitis in dogs is an eye disease whose therapy, depending on its severity, can be quickly. Pass uncomplicatedly or can become a real challenge.
However, with the right approach, measure and patience, a good stabilization of the eye and an increased quality of life of your dog can be achieved.
Image source: 406014 / Pexels
Individual evidence (12)
1. B. Kohn; G. Schwarz (2017): Catarrh of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis). 2017. Source
2. A. Schieszler (2008): On the diagnosis of non-specific conjunctivitis in dogs and cats. May 2008. Source
3. F. Solomon; H. Geyer; U. Gille (2015): eyelids, palpebrae, and conjunctiva. 2015. Source
4. Vetsuisse Faculty (2019): Prudent use of antibiotics in dogs and cats. April 2019. Source
5. J. Anim (2016): Clinical management of conjunctivitis in dog. 2016. Source
6. N. Sigrist (2017): primary conjunctivitis – emergency medicine for dogs and cats. 2017. Source
7. A. Schieszler (2008): On the diagnosis of nonspecific conjunctivitis in dogs and cats. May 2008. Source
8. Ruthowski H.; M. Feichter (2020): conjunctivitis. 18 November 2020. Source
9. F. Solomon; H. Geyer; U. Gille (2015): eyelids, palpebrae, and conjunctiva. 2015. Source
10. Vetsuisse Faculty (2019): Prudent use of antibiotics in dogs and cats. April 2019. Source
11. S. Watschke (2019): Natural home remedies for conjunctivitis.