Conjunctivitis in Pekingese Dogs

I only have eyes for you, but please keep an eye on my eyes.

I only have eyes for you, but please keep an eye on my eyes.

Your little Peke looks up at you with those big, adoring eyes. Unfortunately, because of the breed's head shape, his eyes are vulnerable to several conditions that you must keep your own eyes on to ensure he receives prompt treatment. Conjunctivitis results from different eye issues in the Pekingese.

Brachephalic Ocular Syndrome

Your Peke, like the Boston terrier, pug, bulldog—even the Persian cat—is a brachephalic breed, a term literally meaning "short head." These animals have short noses and jaws, and their eye sockets are also not as deep as those of pets with normal heads. Brachephalic ocular syndrome involves lesions and malformations of the conjunctiva (the white membranes surrounding the eye) the eyelid and cornea. If your Peke's eyes bulge exceptionally, he's more likely to suffer from this syndrome. If you own a Pekingese, ask your vet to recommend a veterinary ophthalmologist ahead of time. Of course, it's also possible that your Peke has ordinary run-of-the-mill conjunctivitis, usually referred to as pinkeye. That's generally treated with antibiotic eye ointments.


Symptoms of brachephalic ocular syndrome include constant tearing, squinting or partially closing the eye, discharge, inflamed conjunctiva, frequent eye rubbing and sensitivity to light. Because Pekes have extremely short muzzles and excess nasal skin folds, this folded skin can actually rub the eye. Inspect your dog's eyes carefully every day for signs of problems. While treatment depends on the actual eye issue, be prepared to medicate your dog's eyes regularly.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

Usually referred to as "dry eye," keratoconjunctivitis sicca develops when the tear glands stop functioning, which can result from an immune reaction, an infection, a medication side effect, chronic conjunctivitis or trauma. If not treated, your dog can lose his sight. He'll have constant pinkeye, along with a yellowish, gunky discharge. While treatment varies, it might include antibiotic eyedrops or those with antibiotics and corticosteroid, cyclosporine ointments in the eye, and regular applications of artificial tear solutions.


Dogs suffering from blepharitis have infected eyelids, often accompanied by an infection of the conjunctiva. Dogs with bulging eyes are more likely to be affected, so Pekes fill the bill. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, "Any condition that can cause irritation of the eyelids can lead to blepharitis." While that might mean allergies, tumors, infections or a number of other potential irritants, your Peke exhibits a swollen, red eyelid with a clear or goopy discharge. Actual treatment depends on what's causing the condition. Your Peke might receive antibiotics or steroids. However, while blepharitis can usually be medically controlled, it's often incurable.

About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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