Did you know that staring into your dog's eyes is good for you? This eye contact actually triggers the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which is a love hormone. Staring into your dog's eyes is good for your emotional health, and it also gives you the chance to regularly check your dog's eyes for any abnormalities. Just like humans, dogs can be affected by conjunctivitis—an inflammation that causes the eye to take on a pink or red hue. Is conjunctivitis in dogs a serious concern?
The Eye's Mucous Membrane
When conjunctivitis strikes, the eye's mucous membrane is primarily infected. This membrane becomes inflamed and can cause mild discomfort. You might have experienced conjunctivitis yourself and probably didn't immediately rush off to the doctor, preferring to wait and see if the inflammation and the infection that caused it will subside. So should your dog see a vet when it has conjunctivitis?
The Origin of the Condition
Although conjunctivitis in dogs isn't an emergency, it can become quite serious if untreated. The ultimate severity of the condition can depend on its origin. While it might be a viral or bacterial infection, it can also be caused by a parasite, a tumour adjacent to the eye, an undiagnosed physical injury to the eye, glaucoma or a foreign object embedded in the eye or its surrounding tissues. Since the underlying cause cannot be identified without a professional assessment, it's wise to take your dog to the vet.
Treatment for Your Dog
Treatment for conjunctivitis in dogs will depend on the cause. When your vet identifies the cause as a viral or bacterial infection, topical relief (in the form of medicated eyedrops) will be given, along with antibiotics (in the case of a bacterial infection). Should your vet notice a foreign object, this will be removed. In the event of an abnormal growth, the reasons for this abnormality will be determined so that the condition can be treated.
Treating conjunctivitis is a perfectly straightforward veterinary service, but it's important not to delay seeking treatment. When conjunctivitis is allowed to develop unchecked, it can lead to blockage of the tear duct, and this sometimes requires a minor surgical procedure to correct.
It's in your dog's best interests that any issues affecting its eyes are investigated as soon as possible. Although conjunctivitis is rarely serious, this cannot be assumed until the cause has been positively identified.