Conjunctivitis is one type of condition that can affect both dogs and cats. Otherwise known as pink eye, it is prevalent among breeds that are prone to allergies or autoimmune skin diseases. These dog breeds are more likely capable of suffering from dry eyes which may be an allergic reaction to environmental substances such as pollen. In some cases, however, an exposure to pollen does not necessarily lead to health issues among dogs. Moreover, conjunctivitis may hit any breed of dog as it is not specific to a certain breed.
What are the various types and symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs?
1. The conjunctiva is described as the moist tissue which acts like a covering of the frontal area of the eyeball as well as a lining around the eyelids. Conjunctivitis occurs when there is redness in the eye’s moist tissues.
2. There is the unusual habit of squinting or spasmodic blinking.
3. Your dog’s eyes produce a discharge which is either clear or has mucus/pus content.
4. There is swelling as a result of the build-up of fluid in the eye’s moist tissues.
5. Follicle formation seemed evident which gives the moist tissue area of the eyelids a cobblestone appearance. Follicles are actually accumulation of lymphoid tissues which are said to have lymphocytes.
What causes conjunctivitis in dogs?
Conjunctivitis may be caused by several factors that range from viral, bacterial, to cancer and more.
Viral causes of conjunctivitis have been solely attributed to the so-called Canine distemper virus.
Bacterial causes can classify conjunctivitis as either a primary condition or neonatal. The latter involves newborn inflammation around the moist tissues in the eye area caused by accumulation of discharge. The discharge is usually seen before the dog’s eyelids open or before they separate.
At times, conjunctivitis have also been linked to signs of cancer. Some of these signs include tumors (rare); lesions; inflammation of the border that is found between the cornea and the sclera; and presence of nodules (common among collies and mixed collies) which appears like a pink mass.
Conjunctivitis can also be a secondary condition brought by various diseases and environmental causes. These include lash diseases; lid diseases; lack of normal tear film or dry eye; irritation from eye medications, chemicals, or dust; foreign body in the eye’s moist tissues; glaucoma; anterior uveitis; and ulcerative keratitis.
Conjunctivitis and Its Diagnosis
In getting a diagnosis, the veterinarian would first look for evidences of other eye diseases. This is to find out whether conjunctivitis is also evident in other parts of the eye apart from the conjunctiva. An eye exam is usually conducted wherein various methods of examination are used. One method uses the so-called “fluorescein stain” wherein the surface of the eye is spread with fluorescein. This allows ulcers, scratches and foreign material to appear more visible under the light. This type of method is an ideal way to rule out ulcerative keratitis.
The dog’s lids or eyelashes are also examined thoroughly to check the presence of foreign materials.
Pressures in the eye are also determined in order to diagnose glaucoma while the nasal cavity is sometimes flushed out to diagnose the presence of disease in the area.
If the eye brings out a discharge, the vet will perform a culture in order to determine the components of the discharge which can indicate an infection. Microscopal examination may also be conducted by collecting a biopsy of conjunctiva cells.
Lastly, the vet may run a skin test if there is a reason to suspect skin allergies as the underlying cause of conjunctivitis.