What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the membranes (conjunctiva) lining the eye. If your pet has conjunctivitis, you may notice red eyes, swollen conjunctiva, mucky discharge, excessive blinking, or rubbing or scratching at the eyes. If you notice this at home, try to clean the eyes with warm water and cotton wool.

How do we determine what has caused the conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is most commonly caused by allergy, infection, foreign bodies, low tear production, damage to the eye or infection in the duct that drains tears from the eye to the nose. We will do a series of tests to check tear production, look for any foreign bodies in the eye and check for any damage to the surface of the eye (cornea).

How is conjunctivitis treated?

Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. For allergic conjunctivitis, we will use anti-inflammatory ointment. For bacterial conjunctivitis, we will use antibiotic ointment. There is also a special type of drop that we use in dogs where tear production is low (see the information sheet on Dry Eye). If there is any damage to the surface of the eye, treatment will be more involved.