When a dog suffers from an allergic response, the allergens that stimulate production of antibodies can include animal dander, human dander, certain bacteria, fleas, feathers, chemicals and food. Chemicals or histamines release into tissues and may cause inflammation and burning sensations. Always check with the veterinarian to determine the cause of this itchiness. Two eye diseases related to allergies include blepharitis and conjunctivitis.
Blepharitis can cause inflamed eyelids on the dog. Signs include infection on the eyelid's edges and eyelids that may be sore, red or encrusted with scaly skin. Watch for a thick discharge, abscesses, eyelid muscle spasms, swelling and hardening of the eyelid. Other health problems may lead to blepharitis. Treatment should apply to earlier problems first. Steps for blepharitis include removing crusts by applying warm compresses and eye-cleansing solutions. Clip the hair around the eye.
Allergy-related conjunctivitis in dogs inflames the mucous membranes of the conjunctiva--the tissue that coats the eye and lining of the eyelids. Dogs can show symptoms of itchiness, redness, eye discharge, swelling, squinting, pawing and rubbing in the eye region. Treatment for this external eye disease can involve keeping the eyes clean and eliminating the cause of the allergy.
The veterinarian may recommend eye drops with a bacterial agent. This treatment may involve several applications over several days. Before applying the eye drops, flush the dog's eye area by applying plain saline eyewash on a cotton ball. Wipe with a clean tissue.
Use one cotton ball for each eye to avoid contamination. Clean the inner corner of the dog's eye. Steady the dog's head by holding or muzzling. Support the head by setting your hand under the jaw. Keep the head tilted back. Spread the eyelids open.
Grip the bottle between the thumb and index fingers. The tip of the drops bottle should not touch your fingers or the dog's eye surface. With the bottle held two inches from the eye, squeeze the droplets onto the eye surface. If treatment includes ointment, with clean fingers pull down the dog's lower lid to capture the ointment. Release the eyelid so the ointment melts and spreads.
Alternative to Eye Drops
With eye drops applied to the corneal surface, the disadvantage includes rapid loss of the eye drops. An alternative solution is a soluble bioadhesive ophthalmic drug insert (BODI) that reduces the frequency of eye drops.
Check with the veterinarian about natural treatments. Possible herbal remedies include burdock, chelidonium majus, meadowsweet and rosemary. Arctium lappa (Burdock) belongs to a group of biennial thistles. As a cleansing herb, burdock stimulates the immune system and can treat dry eyes and eye infections. Chelidonium majus is a toxic plant, also known as great delandine or tetterwort. A relative of the poppy, the plant has an orange-coloured fluid that can apply topically for eye problems. Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet) belongs to the family Rosaceae. This perennial herb can sooth and heal eye infections, including conjunctivitis. Rosemarinus officinalis (Rosemary) possesses several compounds that can have anti-inflammatory effects. Rosemary can be a topical antiseptic or disinfectant.
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