You adore your furry companion, but what if their eyes suddenly become red and itchy? It could be a case of allergic conjunctivitis. Just like humans, dogs can experience this uncomfortable condition, which causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, the delicate pink tissue lining their eyelids and eyeballs. But fear not, as our experts at Katten TrimSalon have some valuable insights to share about allergic eye conditions in dogs, especially as May is Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month.
Canine Eye Allergies: Exploring the Two Categories
Dogs can develop two types of eye allergies: follicular conjunctivitis and allergic conjunctivitis. Follicular conjunctivitis is more common in young dogs, while allergic conjunctivitis affects adult dogs who often also suffer from allergic skin disease. Both conditions occur due to an overreactive immune response to environmental factors, rather than a contagious infection. Our priority at Katten TrimSalon is to diagnose the underlying cause and rule out other common eye conditions before starting treatment.
Follicular Conjunctivitis in Young Dogs
If you notice your young pup with red, goopy eyes, it may be a case of follicular conjunctivitis. This condition occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens like pollen, dust, or grass. Enlarged follicles appear on the conjunctiva, and your furry friend may experience discomfort. Although it can be self-limiting, it’s advisable to consult our experts. Treatment options can include short courses of medication to alleviate symptoms and help the immune system mature.
Allergic Conjunctivitis in Adult Dogs
Adult dogs with recurrent or persistent conjunctivitis, unrelated to other eye diseases, may have allergic conjunctivitis. These dogs often have systemic allergies (known as atopy) and exhibit other signs such as itching, skin and ear infections, and hair loss alongside conjunctivitis. Redness, discharge, and eye rubbing are common symptoms. While lymphoid follicle enlargement is not typically seen, these dogs require specialized treatment to manage the condition.
Treating Allergic Eye Conditions in Dogs
Follicular conjunctivitis tends to resolve on its own, but if your pet shows discomfort or copious discharge, treatment options are available. Eye flushing with sterile wash helps reduce the immune response and improves comfort. Topical steroid medications and immunomodulators like tacrolimus and cyclosporine can effectively reduce inflammation and regulate the local immune system. For dogs with systemic allergies, oral antihistamines and topical antihistamine eye drops may be recommended. In severe cases, a dermatology consultation may be necessary to explore options such as oral steroids, immunosuppressants, or immunotherapy.
Preventing Allergic Conjunctivitis in Dogs
Prevention is always better than cure. If your pet is prone to eye allergies, taking preventive measures can make a significant difference. Stick to your veterinarian’s treatment plan and follow their prescribed medications. Additional steps you can take include applying a lubricant gel or ointment to create a protective barrier on your dog’s eyes before walks or outdoor exposure. Using eye wash to rinse debris before applying topical medication can also help.
As spring arrives, allergy season follows closely for our beloved pets. If you notice any signs of allergic eye conditions, such as redness, discharge, or excessive eye rubbing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Katten TrimSalon. Our Veterinary Vision Center team is here to ensure your furry friend’s eye health and well-being. Remember, a little love and care go a long way in providing relief for your pet’s itchy, red eyes.