There are countless reasons why your puppy might develop an eye infection, but whatever the cause. Eye infections in dogs can range from uncomfortable to downright painful.

Today our Memphis vets explain some of the causes of an eye. Infections in dogs, and how these infections can be treated.

Types of Eye Infections In Dogs

Numerous eye infections could cause your puppy to experience discomfort, redness, or sensitivity to light. Below are 4 of the most common types of eye infections in dogs:

  • inflammation of the mucous membrane that covers the outer portion of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelids
  • Inflammation of the cornea
  • Tear gland issues or physical abnormalities of the eyelid
  • Uveitis – an inflammation of one or more inner structures of the eye such as the iris, ciliary body,  or choroid

Common Causes of Eye Infections in Dogs

The causes of these types of infections also vary from case to case.

  • Viruses (distemper, herpes, hepatitis, or canine influenza)
  • Bacteria (canine brucellosis, leptospirosis, canine ehrlichiosis, or Lyme disease)
  • Fungus spores
  • Irritants or allergens, such as smoke or shampoo
  • Foreign matter or debris (dirt, grass seed, or even your dog’s hair)
  • Trauma
  • Parasites
  • Scratch or cut on the cornea

Not All Eye Problems Stem From An Infection

In some cases, your dog may display the typical symptoms of an eye infection but be experiencing a different type of eye condition.

Some eye conditions in dogs commonly assumed by pet parents to be infections include glaucoma, tear duct problems or eye defects, dry eye, vitamin deficiency, exposure to or ingestion of toxins, tumors, cherry eye, or structural issues of the watch itself, such as entropion. 

Like infections, these eye issues require veterinary care as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Eye Infections in Dogs

If your dog displays any of the symptoms listed below, it is essential to take your pup in for a veterinary exam.

Eye infections require treatment and may become severe if left untreated.

Conditions such as glaucoma, while not an infection, are harrowing and need a vet’s attention as soon as possible.

Signs of eye infections in dogs include:

  • Redness of the eye or surrounding the eye
  • Swelling around eye
  • Watery discharge or tearing
  • Thick, smelly discharge
  • Squinting and blinking
  • Holding eye closed
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pawing or rubbing at the eye

Dog Eye Infection Treatment

The treatment your vet recommends will depend upon the underlying cause of your pup’s eye discomfort and may involve a combination of topical and oral medications such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs and, in some cases, surgery.

  • If a bacterial infection is found to be causing your dog’s eye infection, antibiotics and eye drops will typically be prescribed.
  • When allergies are the suspected cause of eye infections in dogs, the vet will likely prescribe an antihistamine to help soothe your pup’s eyes.
  • If a foreign body or debris irritates the eye, your vet may need to remove it while your dog is under sedation or local anesthetic.
  • Blocked tear ducts typically require surgery followed by eye drops and antibiotics.
  • Dogs suffering from dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) may be prescribed medications such as cyclosporine or tacrolimus to help stimulate tear production.
  • Eyelid or eyelash abnormalities that cause the lashes to rub against the eyeball are generally treated with surgery to correct the issue.

The Bottom Line On Dog Eye Infections

If your puppy is experiencing eye sensitivity, irritation, or pain, it’s time to head to your vet. 

Only your veterinarian can conduct a thorough eye exam to determine the cause of your pup’s symptoms.

Once the underlying cause has been determined, your vet will work with you to create your dog’s most effective treatment plan.

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