Conjunctivitis is usually diagnosed based on a physical exam, and your vet may perform one or more of the following tests:
- An examination of the conjunctiva, external eyelids and the third eyelid
- Fluorescein staining to detect superficial abrasions or ulcers on the cornea
- Schirmer tear test to determine if your pet is producing sufficient tears
Additional tests may be recommended, such as:
- Blood tests if your pet is also ill
- Bacterial cultures
- Tests for viruses
- Tonometry, which measures eye pressure (glaucoma test)
- Conjunctival scrapings to evaluate the cells of the conjunctiva
- Conjunctival biopsy
- Wash the eye out to remove any foreign particles.
- Medication is given for tear production abnormalities.
- Medication or surgery is given for some eyelid infections and abnormalities.
- Antibacterial eye ointment is usually prescribed for secondary bacterial infections.
- Anti-inflammatory eye medication may also be prescribed.
Natural Remedies for Conjunctivitis
Because conjunctivitis is often linked to allergies and viral infections, it is important to strengthen your pet's immune system with antioxidants and other nutrients. CoQ10 is a vitamin-like compound that acts as an antioxidant protecting cells against free radical damage. In humans it has been shown to enhance immune function and rejuvenate the body at the cellular level. It may also provide your pet with the immune support it needs to counteract the underlying cause of its allergy and/or infection.
The following vitamins, botanicals and other nutrients have been shown to fortify the immune system and/or nourish eye tissue:
Vitamins A, C and E have antioxidant properties which fight free radicals that can damage the lens of the eye.
Bilberry extract (Vacciuium myritllus) derived from a fruit similar to the blueberry, contains active ingredients for eye health and proper vision. The berries are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanosides -- the red pigments that are beneficial in ophthalmology and vascular diseases. Nicknamed "the vision herb" bilberry has a substantial body of research that confirms its benefits for human eyes. This herb is very helpful to animals with early stage eye disorders, or for animals that have a genetic predisposition to eye problems.
Zinc is a mineral linked to good vision and may protect eye tissue from damaging light and inflammation. Zinc is found in healthy retinal tissue.
Lutein, a carotenoid found in dark, leafy greens, is also found in the retina of healthy eyes where it acts as a shield against harmful light and may help protect the eyes against damage from ultraviolet radiation.
Quercetin is a natural antioxidant bioflavonoid that protects cells from damage by free radicals.
Astragalus is considered by many to be the most powerful immunity-boosting herb. Astragalus has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects, and works by increasing white blood cell production of your pet's own antiviral compounds alpha-and gamma-interferon—which help protect against viral invasion
Coenzyme Q-10, commonly called CoQ10, is a vitamin-like compound that acts as an antioxidant protecting cells against free radical damage. It exists in every cell of your pet's body, and it could not survive without it. CoQ10 is essential to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which produces energy within the cells and is the basis for normal functioning of all body systems and organs. Besides being essential to heart health, CoQ10 enhances immune function, and is important to your pet's overall health.
For dogs or cats with conjunctivitis, it is important to first treat the bacterial infection with a product like Eye-Heal. Then, consider adding Ocu-Clear which contain nutrients that are beneficial to the eyes and/or Immugen to help support the immune system:
Eye-Heal from PetAlive
PetAlive Eye-Heal contains a blend of pure and natural ingredients in an herbal tincture and will effectively treat and prevent eye infections in dogs and cats as well as improve general eye and visual health. Natural herbal ingredients (Meadowsweet, Burdock and Rosemary) have astringent, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and are excellent for soothing and healing infections of the eyes and conjunctiva.
To purchase or read more about Eye-Heal...
Ocu-Clear by Thorne Research
Ocu-Clear has a comprehensive blend of carotenes, botanicals, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients for optimal vision support. Bilberry, known as the "vision herb" and lutein a carotenoid, provide antioxidant protection to the eye. Other nutrients in Ocu-clear help to reduce the incidence of cataracts in dogs and cats by promoting optimal eye health.
To purchase or read
more about Ocu-Clear...
Immugen by Thorne Research
Immugen contains many powerful antioxidants, including Coenzyme Q-10, an antioxidant with an affinity for the eyes. The unique formula combines vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanicals and other nutrients for optimal immune system functioning.
To purchase or read
more about Immugen...
To learn more about specific eye disorders, click on these links: Cataracts, Feline Herpes Keratitis, Eye Infections, and Glaucoma.
If your pet has an eye condition you'l like to learn more about, send us an email and will try to include it in future updates to this website. See our Contact Us page.