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Conjunctivitis in Canine

 Submitted by Michael Adams on February 10, 2010

Conjunctivitis is a common infection of the conjunctiva and occurs in both humans and dogs. In this condition, the conjunctiva, which is the outermost lining of the eyes, gets inflamed. Under normal conditions, the conjunctiva is a moist and glistening layer.

There are tiny blood vessels that course through this lining. The conjunctiva is made of a translucent tissue. It serves as a protective layer, preventing bacteria and viruses from entering the eye.

The conjunctiva also traps the debris from any virus and bacteria in the eye.

Though a common problem, conjunctivitis in dogs is perhaps the only ailment of the eyes that dogs suffer from. However, in many cases, conjunctivitis is not a disorder, but a symptom of another disorder. Conjunctivitis is often associated with viral infections that affect the eyes. Canine distemper is one such virus. If your dog hasn’t been vaccinated against canine distemper, you should get it checked by a veterinarian.

Bacterial infections of the eyes can also cause conjunctivitis. If the bacteria rupture the conjunctiva while trying to penetrate it, the membrane gets inflamed and turns red. Corneal diseases and infections or disorders affecting the tear ducts also cause inflammation of the membrane of the eye. Allergies and trauma can also cause this disorder of the eye.

If your dog has recently been exposed to allergenic substances like poison ivy or chemicals, it could cause irritation in the eyes and result in inflammation of the conjunctiva. Exposure to sand, plant material, and harsh fibers may also cause damage to the conjunctiva. Apart from this, conjunctivitis may also be caused due to several kinds of skin diseases that affect the eyes.

The symptoms of conjunctivitis in dogs are rather easy to identify. If your dog’s eyes appear red in color and there is a constant discharge flowing from the eyes, the dog may be suffering from conjunctivitis. Dog eye bleeding or discharge resembles a white-colored mucous. There will be some swelling in the outer lining of the eye, near the eyelid. The dog may be in visible pain and can be seen blinking excessively or squinting. If the pain is excessive, the dog may even be found pawing at the eye or rubbing it. Try to discourage your dog from doing that, because in an attempt to paw at its eye, the dog may injure itself and cause more damage.

Take your dog to a doctor immediately, and meanwhile, try to keep the eyes of the dog clean.

Pet Health Instructor
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