The membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids is called the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva also extends over the globe of the eye, and plays a crucial role in tear formation, healing the cornea if injury occurs, and protecting the eye from invaders and foreign particles. If problems relating to the conjunctiva exist it is important they be treated immediately as some of these problems indicate a larger, generalized disease in the body. In other cases, if left untreated, disorders of the conjunctiva can lead to blindness.
Conjunctivitis In Dogs (Pink Eye)
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is fairly common in dogs. Anything from infections to environmental irritants can cause pink eye. Most commonly the symptoms include discharge from the eye, mild eye discomfort, the swelling of tissues around the cornea, and excess blood flow to the eye. However, appearance alone is not typically enough for a veterinarian to issue a diagnosis of conjunctivitis. Schirmer tear tests, conjunctival scrapings, medical history examination, and, sometimes, biopsies are required in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
If pink eye is only present in one eye the cause may be inflammation of the tear sac, dry eye, or having a foreign object in the eye. If the condition occurs in both eyes, however, it is usually the result of a bacterial or viral infection. However, allergens and environmental irritants can also cause dual eye pink eye. Veterinarians will usually prescribe a topical antibiotic if mucus or pus-filled discharge is visibly present in the dog’s eye. However, that treatment alone will sometimes not be enough to heal pink eye if there are other factors at play in the condition. The infected dog’s veterinarian will also check for parasites, defects of the eyelid in shape, form, or outline, environmental irritants, foreign objects, and other contributory factors. A combination of treatments may be prescribed if the veterinarian comes to the conclusion that a number of causes participated in the dog’s developing pink eye
Trauma, blood disorders, and certain infectious disease can cause blood vessels beneath the conjunctiva to rupture. This condition on its own doesn’t necessarily require therapy. However, it is important to have it closely inspected by a veterinarian to ensure that more serious and damaging conditions haven’t developed within the eye. Sometimes the cause is merely trauma, which can usually be seen, or a history of trauma, which will be indicated on the dog’s medical file at the veterinarian. However, if neither of these situations are present then it is important to have the eye closely inspected so that the cause of the spontaneous bleeding can be narrowed down.
Swelling of Conjunctival Tissue (Chemosis)
To some extent swelling of the conjunctival tissue, which is located around the cornea, occurs in all cases of conjunctivitis. However, in trauma there are often more severe examples of this condition. More dramatic examples can also occur with insect bites, protein deficiency in the blood, or hypoproteinemia, and allergic reactions. If the cause is determined to be an insect bite, the condition is usually treated with corticosteroids topically and healing is typically rapid and complete. However, specific therapy can be necessary in other cases depending on the original cause of the swelling.