Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis is a condition that’s fairly common in humans. It manifests as itchy and red inflammation of the conjuctiva. The conjuctiva is a membrane that covers part of the front surface of the eye and inner surface of the eyelid. Conjunctivitis is terribly annoying and inconvenient for us humans. But it can also affect many animals. Which might makes you wonder: Can dogs get pink eye too?
Surprisingly, conjunctivitis affects dogs as common as it affects us humans. Keep reading to learn what causes conjunctivitis, and most importantly – how it’s treated!
What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is a condition in which the conjuctiva of the eye becomes inflamed. There’s two different types of conjunctivitis: Infectious, and non-infectious.
Infectious conjunctivitis is caused by a viral, bacterial or fungal infection. It’s pretty rare.
Non-infectious conjunctivitis is more common. It happens for a number of different reasons. Such as: allergies, injury, trauma, different substances irritating the eye…
The most common causes of pink eye in dogs are:
- Dust mites;
- Viruses or bacteria;
- Different medications;
- Respiratory infection;
- Inflammation of the tear ducts.
Can pink eye be contagious?
Non-infectious types of pink eye aren’t contagious. Infections conjunctivitis, however, can be.
If you’re suspecting that your dog has pink eye caused by an infection, make sure to keep your dog away from his other canine friends. Also always throughly wash your hands with soap after touching your dog’s eye area.
Can dogs give conjunctivitis to humans?
Yes, this is possible. However, only in rare cases. Dogs are also equally prone to getting pink eye from humans. But like we already explained, infections conjunctivitis isn’t that common. Therefore this will occur only in some very rare cases. However there definitely isn’t harm in taking preventive measures, such as washing your hands before touching your eyes, or the eyed of your canine friend.
Are some dog breeds more prone to pink eye?
Any type of dog breed can get pink eye. However, it seems as if some dog breeds are more likely to get it than others. Such as cocker spaniels or bulldogs. The reason is that these dog breeds naturally have drier eyes. Dry eyes can eventually lead to non-infectious conjunctivitis.
Signs of pink eye in dogs
The most common symptoms of canine conjunctivitis are:
- Red, puffy eyes;
- Eye discharge;
- Eyelids that are sticking together;
- Swelling of the eyelid;
- Pawing at the eye due to discomfort or itchiness;
- Crusty eyelids.
If you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes, contact your vet. Your vet will be the one determining whether your dog has pink eye. Also what type of conjunctivitis he has.
The diagnosis of pink eye is done by a veterinarian. They may perform different diagnostic tests such as bacterial cultures, blood tests, or a test for glaucoma. All of that on top of a classic eye and psychical examination.
Treating pink eye in dogs
Your vet will prescribe a treatment accordingly to the type of conjunctivitis your dog has. In case of infections conjunctivitis, the treatment will be a bactericidal or fungicidal ointment.
In case of non-infections conjunctivitis, your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications. Or medications to treat the primary condition that caused the pink eye. Allergies, for example.
In most cases, conjunctivitis isn’t a serious medical condition. However, it won’t clear up on itself. It can also point to a more serious health problem that needs to be addressed. If left untreated, it can possibly lead to vision loss.