Canine conjunctivitis (also called pink eye) is a general label used to
describe a dog eye that is red. It is caused by congestion in the blood
vessels that line tissue in the eye, the eyelids and the third eyelid.
A veterinarian will need to differentiate the causes of conjunctivitis
such as infection, foreign objects or allergy, from other causes of red
dog eyes such as uveitis (a problem in the interior of the eye) and
glaucoma (an increase in ocular pressure).
Often a problem in the conjunctiva is a secondary problem caused by
something happening elsewhere in the body such as a disease.
Conjunctivitis does not effect the ability to see and the eye globe size
will be normal.
Picture of Conjunctivitis in Dog Eye
Dog conjunctivitis caused by Blepharospasm, which is an eyelid spasm Source: UC Davis
No matter what the cause,
keeping the area around the eye clean is important. If you see any type
of discharge Use a clean tissue or wet warm washcloth to wipe the areas
around the eye. Do not use the same tissue or cloth for both eyes as
you can spread infection from one to the other.
Conjunctivitis in dogs can be caused by a number of things, including:
Immune Mediated -- Allergy or pollen -- Follicular conjunctivitis (refers to eye appearance that looks like small red areas) -- Plasma cell conjunctivitis -- Pemphigus
A foreign object in the eye
Dog Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
A foreign body called foxtail (a type of grass) caused this case of pink eye. Treatment included a topical anesthetic to numb the eye and then removal by a veterinarian. After removal, the dog stopped itching, which was also causing eye irritation. Source: UC. Davis
Keratoconjunctivitis (dry eye) caused by the viral infection distemper Source: UC Davis
Eyelid problems (entropion, ectropion)
Conjunctivitis Due to Dog Dry Eye
Dog Conjunctivitis due to an elongated eyelid (called dog ectropion). Surgery was used to reduce the length of the eyelid. An alternative would be to keep the eye clean to avoid foreign material getting caught in the eyelid. Source: UC Davis
Blepharitis (eyelid inflammation, see picture at top of page)
Eyelash problem -- Distichia – eyelash in an abnormal spot on the eyelid
-- Trichiasis – abnormally positioned eyelashes
Conjunctivitis Due to Distachia
Eyelashes in bottom middle of picture can cause dog eye redness (conjunctivitis) Source: UC Davis
Irritants -- Exposure to chemicals -- Redness due to wind and dust -- Smoke -- Medications
Skin or dermatological disease
Irritation from nasal folds
Uveitis (inflammation into the pigmented (color) part of the eye)
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