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Conjunctivitis in dogs and cats

Photo by Nadi Whatisdelirium on Unsplash

Conjunctivitis – the inflammation of the thin, moist layer of tissue called the conjunctiva – can affect cats and dogs as well as humans. The conjunctiva is the white part of the eye, and this condition is one of the most common among our furry friends.

Our helpful infographic explores the causes, symptoms and treatments of conjunctivitis in cats and dogs.

Conjunctivitis infographic

What are the causes of conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis can be caused by an allergy, or it could be a sign of something more serious. Some of the most common causes are:

  • Foreign bodies such as dust or an eyelash getting into a dog or cat’s eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Neonatal conjunctivitis, caused by bacteria (this affects puppies and kittens less than one month old)
  • Viruses such as canine distemper or feline herpes virus

Signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis

If you’ve noticed your pet frequently pawing at their eye, it could be to relieve the itching caused by conjunctivitis. Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Discharge - This is one of the most common symptoms. It may be clear and watery, or it could be thick with mucus.
  • Redness and puffy eyelids - Your pet’s eye(s) may look sore and irritated.
  • Continual squinting and excessive blinking - These are further attempts to relieve the irritation.

If you observe any of these symptoms, it’s important that you take your pet to the vet. Always talk to your vet to get to the root cause of your pet’s eye discharge, because some problems can result in blindness or loss of an eye if left untreated.

Diagnosis and treatment

An examination by a vet will help determine what has caused the conjunctivitis, and how severe it is. Because of the variety of causes, treatment varies widely.

Our Vision Hub is full of helpful articles on how to diagnose pets’ eye conditions and how to treat them.