Taking Care of Eye Infections in Your Pets

Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye (also, as just an eye infection), can be a troubling, if not terribly serious health concern in your cat or dog. That said, there are several serious conditions that can lead to the problem; the trick is knowing how to take care of the occasional, perfectly normal eye infection, and knowing when a trip to the vet is warranted instead.

Both and dogs and cats are susceptible to getting inflammations of the tissues that surround the eye, or the white part of the eye itself. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, can be a symptom of a respiratory infection, an eye injury, airborne contaminants, dry eye, and even more serious conditions (more on that below). The symptoms of conjunctivitis can include bloodshot eyes, eye discharge, and swelling of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis can also cause your dog or cat to scratch or rub their eyes, often a telltale sign.

Basic Conjunctivitis Care for Pets at Home

Caring for a cat or dog with conjunctivitis can usually be accomplished at home, once a trip to the vet has occurred to ensure that none of the more serious conditions listed below are not an underlying cause. Following an exam by a veterinary professional, most pets are sent home with either eye drops or an ointment to treat the condition.

Typically, treatment lasts from a few days to around a week. If the condition hasn’t improved by the end of the treatment period prescribed by your vet, contact them to arrange for additional medication or another appointment.

When Pink Eye Is the Least of Your Worries

As mentioned above, there are a couple of conditions—namely feline herpesvirus and canine distemper—that can cause conjunctivitis, but will not simply go away along with pink eye over the course of treatment for an eye infection. For this reason, as well as the general well being of your pet, a visit to the vet is usually recommended for any dog or cat suffering from pink eye.

Conjunctivitis can also be caused, in some cases, by malformed eyelids. This condition, called entropion, may cause the edges of the eyelids to roll inward when closed. The eyelids scrape the eyes of your pet and cause irritation, which eventually leads to conjunctivitis. In these cases, surgery may be the best remedy for the condition.

Keeping Your Pets’ Eyes Clean and Healthy

So many things can cause conjunctivitis that it may seem like preventing the condition is nearly impossible. However, many cases of pink eye are indeed preventable. For starters, you’ll want to minimize your cat or dog’s exposure to airborne eye irritants such as cigarette smoke. Watch your pets and make sure that they don’t engage in activities that may damage their eyes. Last, keep your pets vaccinated against diseases that can also cause pink eye.

Author: Giano Panzarella