Conjunctivitis in dogs (AKA pink eye) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva membrane that covers the back of the eyelids and the surface of the eyeball, up to the cornea.  Conjunctivitis is a very common problem with dogs.

Common signs of conjunctivitis:
     •    Red eyes
     •    Mucous or watery discharge
     •    Thick yellowish-green discharge
     •    Swollen eyes
     •    Pawing and/or rubbing eyes
It is usually not painful, so if your dog seems to be in pain, it may be from another problem.  

Types of conjunctivitis

Serous conjunctivitis:
    Symptoms:       have swollen, pink membranes with a clear and watery discharge. 
    Causes:            physical irritants such as wind, cold, dust and other allergens. If the
                              conjunctivitis is due to allergies, it is often accompanied by itching. 

Purulent conjunctivitis:
     Symptoms:      Infection. Mucus and pus discharge, crusting of the eyelids.
     Causes:           Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria. 

Follicular conjunctivitis:
     Symptoms:      The small mucous glands react to an irritant by forming a rough
                               surface that will irritate the eye and produce a mucous discharg.
     Causes:           Eye irritants, foreign material.   

Causes of conjunctivitis:

The underlying issues that are causing conjunctivitis in your dog should be determined. Allergies are a major cause and can be treated with the help of a veterinarian. Bacteria commonly cause the condition as well, so try to keep your dog away from situations that may cause them to be exposed to it. Puppies who are not vaccinated against distemper virus are likely to get conjunctivitis as well. 

Conditions similar to conjunctivitis:
There are several eye conditions that have similar symptoms to conjunctivitis such as keratitis, uveitis or glaucoma.  Delayed treatment can result in blindness. It’s important to have your dog examined by a veterinarian if you suspect he/she may have an eye infection. 

Treating conjunctivitis:

There are a few options for treating conjunctivitis. The veterinarian may recommend eye drops or ointments; and treatment may vary depending on the underlying cause. 

When the cause for conjunctivitis in dogs is a bacterial infection, a product like Vetericyn Animal Ophthalmic Gel can be used; Vetericyn products have antibiotic properties without being an actual antibiotic. Vetericyn Animal Ophthalmic Gel can also be used to provide relief from burning, itching, stinging and pollutants. This product is recommended for your pet emergency kit.

If an allergy is the cause, then there are several medications available containing anti-inflammatories that will help your dog’s body manage. Sometimes, oral antibiotics are administered as well as anti-bacterial or fungicidal ointments. 

Above all, be patient in treating your dog for conjunctivitis, it may take 1-2 weeks for them to fully recover.