Can Dogs Get Pink Eye

The short answer is yes, just like people, dogs can get pink eye and it is quite common too.

What is pink eye in dogs?

Pink eye or conjunctivitis is the inflammation and irritation of the tissues that line the eye and eyelid, called the conjunctiva. It can affect both eyes simultaneously or in just one eye. If conjunctivitis occurs due to infection, it is more likely to spread to the other eye.  

Certain breeds of dogs are susceptible to the pink eye due to their facial features. This makes them prone to debris and other irritants. These breeds include:

  • Hounds
  • Pug
  • Poodle
  • Cocker spaniel

What are the symptoms of pink eye in dogs?

Clinical signs and symptoms of pink eye include:

  • Discharge from the eye (watery, mucous)
  • Excessive blinking
  • Redness
  • Swelling/ inflammation of the eyes
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Eyelids that stick together

What causes pink eye in dogs?

Pink eye can be either contagious or non-contagious. Following are the main types of conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis: It is caused due to an allergic reaction and can be seasonal. Dust mites, pollen, mold, cosmetics, and perfumes are some of the common causes of this type of conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.

Viral conjunctivitis: It is caused due to virus and is highly contagious. Dogs can take up to 3 weeks to get fully recovered.

Bacterial conjunctivitis: Bacterial conjunctivitis is contagious and is caused by bacteria that include streptococcus and staphylococcus.

Other causes include a tumor of the eyelid, trauma to the eye, parasites, and foreign bodies.

How pink eye is diagnosed in dogs?

For an accurate diagnosis, your vet will perform a detailed examination of your dog’s pink eye. In certain cases, pink eye can be a secondary condition to a major disease such as a tumor or dry eye. In such cases, treating red eye solely cannot cure the problem.

How to treat pink eye in dogs?

Treatment includes treating the underlying cause of the disease. Your vet will thoroughly examine the eye of the dog and determine the cause of the disease. In case of allergic conjunctivitis, your vet will prescribe Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antihistamines, and steroid eye drop.

Viral conjunctivitis is treated by cold compresses, artificial tears, and steroid eye drops. Antibiotic eye drops and ointments are prescribed for bacterial conjunctivitis. When the cause of pink eye is structural abnormality or deformation of the eye e.g., entropion and distichiasis, it requires a surgical procedure to correct the deformity.

How to prevent pink eye in dogs?

Certain causes of pink eye are unavoidable such as the dry eye. Breeders are advised to perform an eye exam on the dogs that they would like to breed to make sure they do not let pass the inherited conditions like entropion. Moreover, keeping your dog up to date on vaccines helps them to prevent viral conjunctivitis.

Supervise your dog to prevent eye damage and trauma that could lead to a pink eye condition. if you notice any symptoms of pink eye, consult your vet earliest before the condition becomes severe.

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