Blog Can dogs catch pink eye?
Pink eye is a common term for conjunctivitis, or an eye infection with inflammation of the conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is the mucous membrane covering the eyeballs and lining of the eyelids. The membrane is composed of epithelial cells and cells that secrete mucus to protect delicate tissues in the eye. Conjunctivitis is a common condition in humans, and dogs can contract pink eye as well.
Pawing at the Eyes
Eyelids Sticking Together
Dogs have a nictitating membrane in the corner of their eyes. It is often called the third eyelid. Conjunctiva of the eyelids is pale pink and almost unnoticeable in healthy dogs, but the membranes becomes red and swollen in dogs with conjunctivitis. Veterinarians diagnose conjunctivitis by examining a dog’s eyes and surrounding structures. They use ophthalmic lenses to examine eyelids, eyelashes, tear ducts, and the nictitating membrane.
The Schirmer tear production test helps veterinarians identify injured or obstructed tear ducts. This test is also used for human eye examinations. Veterinarians use staining eye drops to look for scratches on the cornea and estimate intraocular pressure. Damaged areas have a darker appearance than the rest of the eye. A condition called uvitis causes inflammation in the front of the eyes. Uvitis is easily recognized when dye is concentrated in certain tissues damaged by inflammation. The stain test is familiar to many people because it is used by eye doctors to measure intraocular pressure and evaluate symptoms of glaucoma.
Conjunctivitis occurs as a primary or secondary condition. Primary conjunctivitis is caused by a temporary infection or injury of the eyes. Secondary conjunctivitis is a result of underlying
conditions. Some dog breeds are more prone to pink eye and other eye problems than others. Cocker spaniels, bulldogs, and schnauzers are very susceptible to dry eye, which is a risk factor for noninfectious conjunctivitis. It is considered noninfectious because it is not caused by microorganisms or other pathogens that could spread to other dogs.
Several breeds are prone to inherited conditions, such as entropion. Entropion is a condition that causes the edge of the eyelid to roll inwards. It is commonly seen in shar-peis and chows. Collies and collie mixes may develop a medical condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or KCS. The condition causes insufficient tear production and leads to irritation of the mucous membranes in the eyes.
Non-infectious conjunctivitis is not a critical health condition if it is addressed in a timely manner. Dogs with dry eyes or entropion can develop permanent eye injuries or blindness without appropriate treatment. Surgery is necessary to correct structural problems, including entropion. Allergic conjunctivitis in dogs with inhalant or seasonal allergies and other immune-mediated conditions are also noninfectious causes of pink eye.
Bactericidal and fungicidal ointments or eye drops are used to treat bacteria or fungal infections. Veterinarians may prescribe topical and oral medications. Oral antibiotics
are necessary when conjunctivitis is a secondary result of a systemic infection.