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CANINE: Conjunctivitis



What is conjunctivitis?Conjunctivitus

The conjunctiva is the lining tissue that covers the globe of the eye (the eyeball) and lines the eyelids and the third eyelid. Conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of this tissue.


What are the clinical signs associated with conjunctivitis?

The most common clinical signs of conjunctivitis include discharge from the eyes (watery, mucoid or mucopurulent), squinting or excessive blinking, and redness or swelling around the eyes. Conjunctivitis often involves both eyes, but only one eye may be affected in certain conditions. Conjunctivitis may occur with other clinical signs such as nasal discharge, sneezing or coughing.


What causes conjunctivitis?

The most common causes of conjunctivitis include bacterial and viral infections, allergies, hereditary conditions, and tumors. Conjunctivitis may be a secondary symptom of another eye disease.


Bacterial infections that are not associated with another condition such as keratoconjunctivitis sicca ("dry eye") are rare in adult dogs. However, puppies can have bacterial infections even before their eyes are open.


Specific causes of conjunctivitis include:

  • Viral infections such as canine distemper virus. 
  • Immune-mediated disorders such as allergic conjunctivitis (especially common in pets with atopy or seasonal allergies), plasma cell conjunctivitis (especially German shepherds), and Pemphigus. 
  • Tumors of the eyelids and conjunctiva are rare in dogs. 
  • Breed-associated conditions such as nodular episcleritis in collies and collie crosses. 
  • Tear film deficiency such as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS or "dry eye") 
  • Eyelid abnormalities such as entropion or ectropion and eyelash disorders such as distichiasis and ectopic cilia often cause secondary conjunctivitis. 
  • Obstructed nasolacrimal or "tear" ducts can cause inflammation of the tissues surrounding the globe of the eye. 
  • Trauma to the eye or irritation from foreign bodies, smoke or environmental pollutants can cause inflammatory conjunctivitis.
  • Other eye disorders such as ulcerative keratitis, anterior uveitis and glaucoma.







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