Pink eye also common in our pets |

Pink eye also common in our pets

Nadine Lober
Vail, CO Colorado

I’m sure that most of you have noticed your pet’s eyes were red or had a discharge at some time or other this summer and fall. Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eye, and it’s common in humans and their pets.

There are various substances that can cause conjunctivitis. Allergies seem to be the most common cause in our dry climate, but other causes include bacteria, viruses, scratches from other animals, plants, pollen and dust, and eyelid diseases.

With all these possible causes, it is necessary to get a good history on the pet’s past to narrow down the actual reason for the red eye. For instance, if the dog has been riding in a jeep on some dry dusty roads at high speeds, then the cause is obvious. But treatment is still necessary if the dog’s eyes are getting worse.

Clinical signs are inflammation or irritation of the inner part of the eyelids. The discharge can be thin or thick, yellow or green or bloody. If there is any discomfort or pain then your pet will be squinting.

A full eye exam includes a tear test to evaluate the dryness of the eye, an eye stain to check for scratches or ulcers, a search for pieces of wood or other foreign bodies, and an eye pressure measurement if necessary for glaucoma.

As for treatment, wood and other particles are simply removed. Infections are treated with antibiotics, some of which have cortisone to help decrease inflammation. There also are antiviral medications that can be applied.

Discharges around the eye, especially the dry crusty ones, are removed first by moistening with a wet cottonball. The eye is then washed out with sterile saline.

When treating the eye it is important not to touch the eye surface with the tip of the medicine tube or bottle.

Our pets seem to tolerate stuff in their eyes better than us humans do. Some breeds live with long shaggy hairs falling in their eyes, whereas, a human would be squinting until they are removed. For this reason, we need to check our pets eyes often for any problems.

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