Conjunctivitis

Inflammation of the tissues lining the eye and eyelid

Conjunctivitis, or inflammation of the conjunctiva—the thin, transparent layer covering the eye and inner eyelids—can cause a variety of symptoms in pets. Watch for the following signs:

  • Redness or inflammation of the eye
  • Discharge, excessive tearing, or crustiness around the eye
  • Excessive blinking or squinting
  • Pawing or rubbing at the affected eye
  • Sensitivity to light: Pets may seem bothered by bright light or avoid well-lit areas

Other health conditions may share similar symptoms with conjunctivitis, including Allergic Reaction, Corneal Ulcer, or ocular trauma.

If you notice any signs of conjunctivitis or have concerns about your pet's eye health, consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

When you visit your veterinarian due to concerns related to conjunctivitis in your pet, the following steps may be taken:

  • Medical history: They will review your pet's medical history and discuss details about your pet's symptoms, duration and pattern of occurrence, and any potential triggers or environmental changes.
  • Physical examination: A thorough exam will be conducted, focusing on the eyes. They may also check for any concurrent health issues that could be contributing to the conjunctivitis.
  • Diagnostic testing: Detailed examination of the eyes, including assessing tear production, checking for foreign bodies, and inspecting the cornea, may be conducted. The veterinarian may use specialized equipment, to examine the structures of the eye. Depending on the severity and suspected cause of conjunctivitis, advanced diagnostic tests may be recommended.
  • Treatment options: These can vary based on the underlying cause and severity of conjunctivitis. This may involve prescription eye drops or ointments, antibiotics for bacterial infections, or anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate discomfort.
  • Follow-up care: Your veterinarian will discuss a follow-up plan, which may involve regular monitoring of your pet’s eyes, additional tests, or adjustments to the treatment regimen.

While conjunctivitis is usually a localized issue, it can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying health problem. If needed, your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist for further evaluation.

Your veterinary healthcare team will partner with you to decide which treatment option is best for your pet's and your family’s specific condition and situation.

While it may not be possible to prevent all instances of conjunctivitis, especially if there's an underlying health condition, you can take steps at home to reduce the risk and manage potential causes. Here are some preventative measures:

  • Good eye hygiene: Regularly clean your pet's eyes to remove debris and discharge. Use a soft, damp cloth and gently wipe from the inner corner of the eye outward. Be cautious not to touch the eye directly.
  • Protect the eyes: Minimize exposure to potential irritants such as dust, pollen, and smoke. Keep your pet away from environments where there are strong odors, fumes, or airborne particles that could lead to eye irritation.
  • Prompt veterinary attention: If you notice redness, discharge, or squinting of the eye seek veterinary attention promptly. Early detection and treatment can prevent the worsening of conjunctivitis or the development of complications.

Please note that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If you suspect your pet has conjunctivitis or any other health concerns, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. If your pet is prone to eye issues or has had conjunctivitis before, your vet may recommend additional preventative measures.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$185

You pay only

$19

Conjunctivitis

You save

$167

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$185

You pay only

$19

Conjunctivitis

You save

$167

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.

Nationwide® pet insurance claim example

Veterinary bill

$185

You pay only

$19

Conjunctivitis

You save

$167

Example reflects Accident & Illness plan with optional Congenital & Hereditary rider as well as the optional Cruciate rider added after the first year of coverage, with unlimited annual limit for each category with 90% reimbursement after the $250 annual deductible has been met. This plan may not be available in all areas. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Veterinary bill amount is based on expenses incurred in the first 30 days after initial diagnosis.