Conjunctivitis in dogs is any inflammatory or infectious eye disease of the conjunctival lining of the eyelids.
Primary conjunctivitis is the most commonly diagnosed ophthalmic disorder of dogs, but should be differentiated from secondary conjunctivitis due to underlying orbital, periorbital or systemic diseases. This can be confirmed by presence of other diseases within or surrounding the eye as well as systemic symptoms such as fever, gastrointestinal or skin diseases.
- Foreign bodies, dust, aerosol toxins
- Allergy - e.g. perfumes, aerosol chemicals, atopy
- Genetic diseases
- - Keratoconjunctivitis sicca
- - Chronic superficial keratitis
- - Nodular granulomatous episcleritis - Collie, Kelpie
- - Aspergillus spp
- - Curvularia spp
- - Cryptococcus spp
- - Blastomyces spp
- - Acremonium kiliense
Clinically affected dogs usually present with blepharospasm (squinting), epiphora, photophobia and pawing at the face.
A complete ocular examination should be performed by using a mydriatic drug such as pilocarpine to examine the uvea and fundus. In cases of suspected corneal ulcer, fluorescein dye should be applied to the cornea. With suspected cases of keratoconjunctivitis sicca, a Schirmer tear test should be conducted. Tonometry should also be performed to exclude glaucoma.
Cytology and culture and sensitivity should be done to culture possible etiological agents such as bacteria or fungi, and PCR tests should be considered if viral agents are suspected. In cases non-responsive to conventional antimicrobial/anti-inflammatory treatment, a conjunctival biopsy may be considered.
Treatment is usually palliative in dogs with primary bacterial causes, with use of topical ocular ointments containing broad-spectrum antimicrobials.
Underlying etiological agents must also be addressed.
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