There are countless reasons why your pooch might develop an eye infection, but whatever the cause, eye infections in dogs can range from uncomfortable to downright painful. Today our Memphis vets explain some of the causes of eye infections in dogs and how these infections can be treated.
Types of Eye Infections In Dogs
There are numerous types of eye infections that could cause your pooch to experience discomfort, redness or sensitivity to light. Below are 4 of the most common types of eye infections in dogs:
- Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) - an inflammation of the mucous membrane that covers the outer portion of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelids
- Inflammation of the cornea
- Tear gland issues or physical abnormalities of the eyelid
- Uveitis - an inflammation of one or more inner structures of the eye such as the iris, ciliary body, or choroid
Common Causes of Eye Infections in Dogs
The causes of these types of infections also vary from case to case. If your dog is diagnosed with one of the types of eye infections above, one of the following could be at the bottom of your pup's eye infection:
- Viruses (distemper, herpes, hepatitis, or canine influenza)
- Bacteria (canine brucellosis, leptospirosis, canine ehrlichiosis, or Lyme disease)
- Fungus spores
- Irritants or allergens, such as smoke or shampoo
- Foreign matter or debris (dirt, grass seed, or even your dog's own hair)
- Scratch or cut on the cornea
Not All Eye Problems Stem From An Infection
In some cases, your dog may display the typical symptoms of an eye infection, but actually be experiencing a different type of eye condition. Some eye conditions in dogs that are commonly assumed by pet parents to be infections include glaucoma, tear duct problems or eye defects, dry eye, vitamin deficiency, exposure to or ingestion of toxins, tumors, cherry eye, or structural problems of the eye itself such as entropion.
Like infections, these eye issues require veterinary care as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Eye Infections in Dogs
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms listed below it is essential to take your pup in for a veterinary exam. Eye infections require treatment and may become severe if left untreated.
Conditions such as glaucoma, while not an infection, are extremely painful and need the attention of a vet as soon as possible.
Signs of eye infections in dogs include:
- Redness of the eye or surrounding the eye
- Swelling around eye
- Watery discharge or tearing
- Thick, smelly discharge
- Squinting and blinking
- Holding eye closed
- Sensitivity to light
- Pawing or rubbing at the eye
Dog Eye Infection Treatment
The treatment your vet recommends will depend upon the underlying cause of your pup's eye discomfort and may involve a combination of topical and oral medications such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, and in some cases surgery.
- If a bacterial infection is found to be causing your dog's eye infection, antibiotics and eye drops will typically be prescribed.
- When allergies are the suspected cause of eye infections in dogs, the vet is likely to prescribe an antihistamine to help soothe your pup's eyes.
- If there is a foreign body, or debris irritating the eye your vet may need to remove it while your dog is under sedation or local anesthetic.
- Blocked tear ducts typically require surgery followed by eye drops and antibiotics.
- Dogs suffering from dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) may be prescribed medications such as cyclosporine or tacrolimus to help stimulate tear production.
- Eyelid or eyelash abnormalities that cause the lashes to rub against the eyeball are generally treated with surgery to correct the issue
The Bottom Line On Dog Eye Infections
The fact is that if your pooch is experiencing any eye sensitivity, irritation, or pain it's time to head to your vet.
Only your veterinarian will be able to conduct a thorough eye exam to determine the cause of your pup's symptoms. Once the underlying cause has been determined your vet will work with you to create the most effective treatment plan for your dog.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.