Owning a dog can’t be all cuddles, walks and playing in the park. You also need to make sure you’re keeping your dog healthy and happy. If you’re not, you risk not only your own beloved pet suffering, but also passing on diseases to other dogs!

Today we’re taking a look at one of the most common health problems your dog can suffer, explaining how to recognise it and what to do to help your dog recover!

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Conjunctivitis

You may have experienced this uncomfortable eye infection yourself – it’s especially common in children, and most schools experience the occasional spread of conjunctivitis. It’s uncomfortable, but usually not dangerous, and if you have been through it personally, you’ll want to spare your dog as much of the resulting discomfort as you possible can.

Spotting the Signs

Conjunctivitis in dogs is quite common, so learning what to look for to identify the condition is well worth doing.

Squinting or blinking: if your dog is blinking more frequently than usual, or has to squint, this could be an indication of discomfort around the eyes, caused by the swelling conjunctivitis brings with it.

Behaviour: A painful or swollen eye can change the behaviour of your dog – if you notice your pet pawing or scratching at their eye more than usual, it could be an indication that you need to take a closer look.

Discharge: In some cases, conjunctivitis can cause a discharge from the eyes of either clear mucus or green pus – this is the strongest indicator that something is seriously wrong.

Colour change: This condition is often called pinkeye, because it changes the colour of the ‘white’ of the eye to light red or pink.

Causes

There are lots of different things that can cause conjunctivitis, from simple things like foreign objects like grit in the eye or bites or injuries in the area around the eye, to more involved causes, like infections or the complications from eye disease like Glaucoma. It can even be triggered by allergies!

If conjunctivitis in your dog is caused by something like dirt in the eye, or injuries, you might feel guilty, like you’ve failed to keep your pet clean and safe, and it’s lead to an infection. Be reassured: conjunctivitis is almost unavoidable in dogs. It’s best to consider the side effect of a dog living a full life.

What to Do

The first thing you need to do when you suspect your dog has conjunctivitis is contact a vet: they’ll be able to examine your pet, confirm the diagnosis, and prescribe the medication needed to clear the infection.

If this case of conjunctivitis is caused by obstruction by a foreign body they’ll need to remove it – if that’s hard to do, then anaesthetic may be necessary. Once the obstructing body is removed, the conjunctivitis will likely heal quickly.

If it’s caused by an infection or disease, eye drops may be necessary, and depending on the severity of the illness or injury, a ‘buster collar’ may be required to give it a chance to heal.