Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is one of the most frequently treated eye problems in dogs, and is more common that you may think. Dogs can wake up with swollen, itchy eyes too and can produce the common discharge associated with pink eye.
Since you can’t control what kinds of particles or bacteria enter your body, there really are no proven forms of prevention. There are three main types of pink eye in dogs:
- Serous Conjunctivitis: this kind of pink eye is caused by allergens (such as pollination) or small particles in the air that enter the eye. Symptoms include watery eyes, a light beige discharge and itching/discomfort.
- Follicular Conjunctivitis: caused by irritation, the mucus glands in the third eyelid react to the foreign objects by forming a rough surface in effort to protect the eye. Dogs with this type of pink eye have mucous-like discharge.
- Purulent Conjunctivitis: bacteria causes the eye infection to worsen and leads to discharge so thick it causes the eyelid to crust over with pus and mucus. At this point, most people and pet owners know it’s pink eye.
How is pink eye treated? The first step is to seek veterinary consult. First, your dog will most likely be prescribed an ointment or eye drops specific to their individual stage of pink eye. Your veterinary professional will also likely suggest some at-home remedies to help your dog reach a higher level of comfort during the recovery process.
If you can’t make it in to the vet right away, here are some tips to hold you over for a day or two:
- Clean up the area in which your pet sleeps
- Gently rub your pet’s crusted, mucous eyes with a warm, damp towel
- Flush out your pet’s eyes with saline eyewash and warm water
When left untreated over a long period of time, you are welcoming a more serious medical issue, such as blindness. If you see that your pet has a weird, discolored discharge and seems to experience discomfort in the eyes, seek veterinary treatment.
The Butte Oroville Veterinary Hospital staff is always available to answer any questions and we have experience in treating pink eye in pets.