Your dog's eyes are vital, so it's important to keep infections, like pink eye, in check. Pink eye causes serious eye irritation that will make your dog feel uncomfortable. In some cases, this condition is contagious and can even lead to blindness if not treated. Here is more to know about pink eye in dogs, how to recognize the signs, and how to help your dog's eyes get better.
What Is Pink Eye?
Pink eye is the common term for infectious conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva or the pink area underneath the eyelids. Pink eye is often caused by either a virus or bacteria. However, non-infectious conjunctivitis can be caused by allergies, dust mites, mold, or other irritants.
How Do Dogs Get Pink Eye?
Dogs acquire viral or bacterial pink eye through contact with other dogs. Many dogs get viral pink eye through exposure to viruses like canine distemper. They can also pick it up from other dogs in a shared environment like a public park or yard. Some dog breeds, such as Pekingese, are very susceptible due to their eyelid structure.
What Are the Symptoms of Pink Eye?
The first thing you will notice when your dog gets pink eyes is that their eyes appear swollen and red with a lot of discharge. Your dog may frequently rub or scratch his or her eye. With viral pink eye, your dog may also show other signs of being sick such as respiratory problems. Viral pink eye can also spread to the other eye.
Can Humans Catch Pink Eye From Dogs?
If your dog has pink eye because of a virus, then your chance of catching it is very minimal. Most viruses that cause dog pink eye are species-specific. But your dog can spread it to other dogs. However, the bacterial version can spread between dogs and humans. To reduce the chance of bacterial pink eye spreading from your dog to you or vice-versa, always wash your hands after handling your dog.
How Is Pink Eye Treated?
If your dog's pink eye is viral, then treating the virus should help clear up the condition. Bacterial pink eye is often treated with antibiotic ointments and eye drops. Dogs who have non-infectious conjunctivitis are best helped by treating or removing the allergy-causing or irritating substance.
Most types of pink eye are not serious. Your dog will quickly recover with medications and home treatment. Some types of pink eye need more intervention, or they can cause long-term or even permanent damage to your dog's eye. Therefore, if you see the symptoms of pink eye in your dog, see a veterinarian or veterinarian specialist right away.