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Dogs with red eyes, symptoms, causes and treatment for eye redness in dogs

Your dog's eyes should ideally be clear and bright.



This is one simple indication of good health. Once in a while however, irritation, infection, and certain other problems could cause a dog's eyes to become red and dull. In some cases, minor, temporary factors could be at work – dust, for example. Sometimes a dog's eyes may appear red simply due to excitement, as a result of dilation of the blood vessels in the eyes.



This redness will of course pass, and does not need to be treated. However, many other conditions need to be addressed promptly so that they do not deteriorate, or at the very least to ease the dog's discomfort.

Symptoms
Besides the obvious redness in the eyes, your dog may also blink constantly, or simply keep the affected eye closed. There may also be some discharge, either thick or thin, and your dog may try to rub its eyes to ease the irritation.




Causes
There are numerous causes of eye redness in dogs. A foreign object could get lodged in the dog's eye and cause irritation. Allergic reactions as well as irritation from smoke and certain chemicals could also lead to redness. There are also some bacterial and viral infections that could affect various parts of the eye, typically the conjunctiva. In some cases, actual physical damage could cause redness – for example a sharp object scratching the cornea. Sometimes health conditions that are not directly related to the eyes, such as those affecting the upper respiratory system, could also cause redness. More dangerous conditions include glaucoma and high blood pressure, both of which can damage the eyes severely enough to cause dog blindness.

Treatment
As mentioned earlier, dogs with red eyes do not always need treatment. You should first simply observe your dog's eyes. If the redness becomes a regular occurrence or if it persists for more than a few hours at a stretch, then you should check your dog's eyes for any foreign particles. If possible, try to flush the dog's eyes with a simple saline solution (salt and water). However, if your dog refuses to sit still, it may be advisable to leave this to your vet. Also, if there is discharge around your dog's eyes, you should leave the matter to your vet. You should also avoid cleaning the discharge just before you visit the vet, as the color and texture of the discharge will help diagnose the problem. The actual treatment to fix red eye in dogs depends upon the cause, which will be diagnosed only after a thorough examination of the eyes. Your vet will also probably question you as to the dog's general habits and health, in order to get a better understanding of the possible causes.

 
  Submitted on May 10, 2010