Conjunctivitis, sometimes called pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye, the tissue surrounding the eyeball.
It’s caused by a variety of factors and often looks much worse than it is.
However, it is painful and uncomfortable for your pet and shouldn’t be ignored as treatment is usually straightforward and the condition responds quickly to medication.
What Does Conjunctivitis Look Like?
A pet’s eyes are normally clear and bright, and most pet owners will notice straightaway if something isn’t right.
Your pet may have red, sore-looking eyes, swollen with a yellow or green discharge. They may squint and keep rubbing their eye with their paws, or along the floor.
Although most cases of conjunctivitis are easily treated, it’s important to visit your vet as soon as you notice any symptoms so the condition doesn’t worsen and cause bigger problems.
What Causes Conjunctivitis?
If your pet has a clear discharge from the eyes, it’s likely to be caused by irritation from dust or allergies.
However, a thick, yellow-green discharge indicates some sort of infection. Conjunctivitis can be caused by injury to the eye, a foreign body such as a grass seed, blocked or infected tear ducts, bacterial or viral infections, dry eyes, severe allergies, parasites, or eye diseases such as glaucoma.
Treatment for Conjunctivitis
The treatment for conjunctivitis very much depends on the cause since there are many different reasons for it.
Your vet will examine your pet’s eyes to determine the cause and treat it appropriately.
If it’s a foreign body or injury your pet may need to be sedated to remove the object or repair any damage to eye. Allergies are often treated with antihistamines, and infections are treated with eye drops or creams, and antibiotics.
If the vet finds or suspects something more serious then further testing will be done.
Could It Be Something More Serious?
Sometimes your pet’s conjunctivitis is a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, which is why early intervention is so important.
The condition of your pet’s eye can give clues to other disorders that might not otherwise be diagnosed until it’s too late. Conditions such as inflammatory diseases, bleeding disorders, glaucoma, tumours and cancer can all cause swelling and discharge in the eyes.
There are a wide range of tests that can be done on the eyes to diagnose severe disorders that might go undetected, and even the breed of your pet can give clues to other conditions as some breeds are more susceptible to certain health issues.
Sydney Animal Hospital and Specialist Vet
Sydney Vet Specialists is dedicated to providing quality 24 hour veterinary care for your pets, as well as specialist services for a wide range of conditions.
To speak to one of caring, professional team members about any concerns you have with your pet’s eyes, call us on 02 9197 5800, or contact us online.