Caring for your dog means caring for his vision. Take changes in your dog's eyes and behavior seriously. Treating infections early helps prevent permanent vision and eye problems. In many cases of infection, your veterinarian will prescribe topical antibiotics for you to apply directly onto your dog's eye.
Symptoms of Eye Infections
Many eye conditions share similar symptoms. Common symptoms of infection include squinting, redness in and around the eye, and unusual, excessive or discolored eye discharge. Any of these symptoms may occur in one or both eyes. If symptoms occur in both eyes, this is often a sign of allergies and not infection, according to WebMD.
Diagnosing Eye Infections
A correct diagnosis of eye infection is critical for proper treatment. If a virus or parasite has caused the infection, antibiotics will be completely ineffective in treating your dog's eyes. In addition, the condition may not be an infection at all but rather an injury or allergies. Your veterinarian will begin by examining your dog's eye, testing for things such as reaction to light, and looking for scratches, inflammation or injury. Diagnostic tests may include a tear duct test to make sure the ducts are producing tears and working correctly, and a bacterial culture from the infected area of the eye. If the infection is bacterial, it is often treated with eye antibiotics.
Common Eye Infections
Two common eye infections in dogs include conjunctivitis and uveitis. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an inflammation of the eyelids and eye surface up to the cornea. According to WebMD, causes of conjunctivitis include allergens, dust and other particles in the air or bacteria including Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. Uveitis is an inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye which includes the iris. Causes of uveitis include infection from a virus, parasite or bacteria such as leptospirosis. Both of theses types of infections are treated with eye antibiotics if they're caused by bacteria.
The most common eye antibiotic for dogs is Terramycin. Terramycin comes in the form of an ointment. It is a broad-spectrum antibiotic containing oxtetracycline HCL and polymyxin B sulfate. It is used to treat conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers and other bacterial eye infections including E. coli. Although this is the most well-known eye antibiotic for dogs, your veterinarian will prescribe whichever eye antibiotic that he feels will best treat your dog's condition. You can ask him about differences between Terramycin and the medicines he recommends.
Antibiotics are effective only in treating bacterial eye infections or preventing bacterial infection in the case of an eye injury. Give them to your pet only as prescribed by your veterinarian. If your dog's condition does not improve or he shows signs of allergic reaction such as swelling in the eye, stop using the eye antibiotic and consult your veterinarian.
How to Administer Eye Antibiotics
Eye antibiotics come in the form of liquid drops or ointment. Follow your vet's instructions for antibiotic dosage. Start by cleaning any discharge from around the eye. Then use your thumb and forefinger to hold the dogs eyelids open, with your palm and other fingers supporting your dog's jaw and head. With your other hand, administer the antibiotic directly on the eyeball. Do not allow the tip of the dropper to touch the eyeball. Release the dog so he can blink and spread the medicine around his eye. If you are using an ointment, massage the eyelids gently to help spread the medication. Finally, praise and reward your dog for good behavior.
Some dogs will fight having antibiotics put in the eye. In some cases, you may have to muzzle your dog for your safety and have another person help you secure the dog while you administer the medication.
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