Conjunctivitis can be caused by several different things including:-

* allergies,
* irritation (dust or smoke),
* foreign bodies like grass seeds,
* hairs or eyelashes facing the wrong way and poking inwards,
* infections
* poor tear production.

conjunctivitis closeup

* most common symptom is redness of the eye,
* may also be discharge weeping from the eye
* one or both eyes may be affected
* signs of pain/irritation
* the dog my rub his eyes
* even the slightest tinge of green denotes infection and SHOULD NOT be ignored

You may be able to make your dog a little more comfortable by bathing the eye using warm/tepid dilute salt water or, if you have a good first aid kit, by soothing it with the saline solution in your kit.  There are also times when simply using cooled boiled teabags may soothe and this route is often preferred by people who like to employ natural methods.

N.B. If you are bathing your dog’s eyes, use a fresh cotton wool ball each time you dip into the salt/saline water AND for each eye.  It is important not to risk contaminating either the salt water bath or to transfer any bacteria into the other eye and cross contaminate.

Because the eyes are so important, please don’t take any chances.  Examination of the eye by a vet will help to establish the cause of the conjunctivitis.  It may be necessary to send off swabs from the eye to determine exactly what the cause of the problem is. Different bacteria will require different antibiotics to treat them and your vet may wish to find out exactly what the problem is before giving any drops or ointments – the precise ingredients depend on the cause (which is why you should never use drops that have been prescribed for a previous disease or for another dog).

The good news is that most cases of conjunctivitis respond well to treatment.  However, those cases which are caused by allergies may require a much more lengthy course of treatment or, in a few cases, it might be necessary to use drops or ointments permanently.