Like us, dogs may suffer from uncomfortable conjunctivitis. Sometimes conjunctivitis develops because of irritants blowing into the eye (such as sand or dust) or eye infections. However, if your pet develops conjunctivitis repeatedly, their problem may have an allergic basis.
Here are the top five things that owners should know about allergic conjunctivitis in dogs:
1. Conjunctivitis involves inflammation of the conjunctiva, the pink tissue that lines the inner eyelids and covers the eyeball.
2. Allergic conjunctivitis usually affects both eyes and leads to symptoms such as eye redness, abnormal eye discharge (which may be watery or thick and yellow to green in colour), squinting and light sensitivity, or itchiness around the eyes or face.
3. Pets with allergic conjunctivitis commonly suffer from other types of allergies, too, such as:
- Atopy: allergies to airborne pollens, dust mites or moulds
- Food allergies
4. Vets commonly treat allergic conjunctivitis with steroid eye ointment or drops to reduce inflammation. Sometimes a pet may also require antibacterial eye medication, especially if they have rubbed at their eye and introduced a secondary infection.
Did you know: Before prescribing steroids to your pet, our vets must perform a fluorescein dye test to check for any ulcers or scratches on your pet’s eye (as steroids can delay the healing of eye injuries and potentially worsen the issue).
5. At home, you can help control your pet’s symptoms by flushing their eyes once or twice daily with sterile saline – this will help to remove any debris or discharge from their eyes and usually feels quite soothing. Our vets may also discuss a trial of antihistamines to see if this helps control your pet’s issues.
So, if your pet develops red, irritated, or mucky eyes, our vets should assess and treat them promptly. We’ll have them feeling better in the blink of an eye!