Dog Training

Conjunctivitis in dogs: (5 types in focus)

You want to know everything about conjunctivitis in dogs? In this article you will find all the important information and what types there are exactly. In addition, for this article we have obtained advice from the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic. So be curious!

Table of contents

Eye discharge is a common problem in dogs. In some species it is completely normal, while in others it can be associated with disease. 

To determine when professional help is needed, you need to understand the different types of eye discharge and the significance of each.

It is normal in the beginning to overlook symptoms of illness in your own dog. I also faced this problem as a new dog owner. With time, you learn to interpret the behavior of the new family member correctly. 

One morning I woke up and was very surprised that my four-legged friend still had plenty of water in the bowl. 

After the first look I realized there was something wrong with her eyes. They watered and were red. The suspicion I had already, but had it confirmed again by the vet: "Conjunctivitis" 🙁 

As bad as it sounds, the healing process is quick 🙂 .

Let's take a look at how you can cope and contribute to recovery.

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5 Types of eye discharge

1. crust formation

Tears play an essential role in maintaining eye health. They provide oxygen and nutrients to the cornea (the clear layer of tissue at the front of the eye). In the process, debris that could become trapped there is removed. 

Tears usually escape through channels located on the inner sides of the eyes. Sometimes a little crust accumulates there. This material consists of dried tears, Oil, mucus, dead cells and dust. In the morning, most of the crust is usually formed during the night. 

It should be easily removed with a warm, damp cloth. The eyes should not be red and your furry friend should not show any signs of eye discomfort (rubbing, squinting, blinking and sensitivity to light). The amount of crust your pet produces each night (or after long naps) should remain relatively constant. 

If you notice a worsening condition, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

2. excessive eye opacity

Epiphora - Clear and watery

Allergies, irritants, foreign bodies in the eye, anatomic abnormalities, blocked lacrimal glands, corneal wounds, and glaucoma are common causes of epiphora in dogs.

They symptoms are protruding eyes, rolled eyelids or increased intraocular pressure.

Does your protégé have a relatively mild increase in lacrimation? But his eyes look normal in every way and he has no complaints? Then monitor the situation first. 

Your faithful companion may have just gotten pollen or dust in the face.

If epiphora persists or your loved one develops red, painful eyes or other types of eye discharge, schedule an appointment with the veterinarian.

3. reddish brown tear stains

Light colored dogs often develop a reddish-brown discoloration of the coat below the inner corner of the eye. This happens because tears contain a pigment called Porphyrin contain. With prolonged exposure to air, this takes on a reddish-brown color. 

In the absence of other problems, tear staining in this area is normal and only a cosmetic issue. 

If you want to minimize tear stains, try one or more of these solutions: 

  • Wipe the area several times a day with a cloth moistened in warm water or an eye cleansing solution
  • Keep the fur around the eyes of the dog cut short
  • Add an antibiotic-free supplement that reduces tear staining. 
  • Remember that porphyrin-stained pelts can take several months to grow and that the effect of any of these agents will not be apparent until then. 

If you notice an increase in volume, a change in the quality of tear coloration, or the eyes are red and painful: schedule an appointment with the veterinarian for an eye exam.

4. white-gray slime

A dry eye (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS) occurs when the dog's immune system attacks its own lacrimal glands.

Since tear production is less than normal, the body tries to compensate by producing more mucus to lubricate the eyes. But mucus cannot replace all the functions of tears, so the eyes become red and irritated. 

If left untreated, KCS can lead to severe symptoms and blindness.

If you notice white-gray mucus collecting around the eyes, make an appointment with the veterinarian. 

He can perform a simple procedure called the "Schirmer Tear Test" to distinguish KCS from other diseases.

Most dogs respond well to treatment for KCS, which may include "cyclosporine", "tacrolimus", artificial tears and/or other medications. 

Surgery may also be considered to reroute a salivary duct from the mouth to the ocular surface. However, it should be reserved for cases where medical treatment is not successful.

5. yellow or green eye discharge

A dog whose eyes have a yellow or green discharge often has an eye infection. Especially if eye redness and discomfort are also visible. 

Eye infections can develop as the main problem or as a consequence of another disease (corneal wounds, dry eye). Since the eye's natural defenses against infections are weakened.

Sometimes an eye inflammation is an indication that a systemic or respiratory disease, has attacked the nervous system or other parts of the body.

As soon as you suspect an eye infection, it should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

The causes

  • Hair in the eye of longhaired breeds
  • Eyelashes in abnormal growth angle
  • Pollen allergy
  • Dust, smoke
  • Trauma, Scratch
  • Tumor
  • Sprays or perfumes
  • Bacteria
  • Virus, chronic infection 
  • Inadequate tear drainage due to anatomical malfunction
  • Blocked tear duct
  • Hereditary diseases


  • In the first place provide a healthy diet
  • Reach for a suitable feed supplement for susceptibility 
  • Do not miss periodic visits to the doctor
  • Regular cleaning of the eye rim 
  • Avoid triggers like pollen

These home remedies contribute to the cure

Natural medicine
  • Salt bath: As soon as you notice an infection, the first thing to do is to wash the area around the infected eye with salt water. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm mineral water, stir it well. Now take this water on a swab or handkerchief and clean the eye area. This will remove the discharge, adhesions and crusts around the eye.
  • Cheese poplar tea: Prepare a cheese poplar tea and let it cool down well. Soak a cotton ball in the tea and use it to clean the area around your pet's eyes.

The above measures should not be continued for more than three days.

If no improvement in the condition is seen, contact a veterinarian immediately. 

Also, make sure your faithful friend does not rub the infected eye and scratches, otherwise the infection will worsen and the healing process will take longer.

It usually takes up to fourteen days for a healing to be complete.

Recommendation from the vet

Conjunctivitis is not something you should take lightly. An untreated inflammation can develop into a chronic disease. If your dog shows signs, you should visit the vet!

Take care and keep your darling healthy! 

Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic
Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion and it is my personal concern to create medically accurate articles and videos to inform pet owners as much as possible.

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