What is Follicular Conjunctivitis?
Follicular conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the moist, pink tissue that covers the front area of the eyeball and lines the lids.
What are the symptoms?
Dogs that have conjunctivitis often have discharge from the affected eye which can be either clear or a yellowish color. Often dogs will have excessive squinting and rubbing of the eye. The conjunctiva will also be red and irritated and usually swollen.
What is the cause?
The cause for conjunctivitis can vary. Some dogs have allergies to things like wind dust or even to topical medication that can cause the eyes to become irritated, resulting in this condition. Other causes can be trauma, an underlying immune-mediated condition, an upper respiratory infection or a condition called dry eye (insufficient amount of tears). Another culprit may be hairs around the eye that are causing irritation.
If a dog is suspected of having conjunctivitis, a thorough ophthalmic exam should be performed. During the exam, the eye will be tested to ensure that tear production is normal, the eye will be stained to identify any ulcers or scratches, and a pressure check will be performed to make sure glaucoma is not present. The ophthalmologist may also want to run blood work to insure there is not an underlying immune issue. A bacterial culture may be warranted if an infection is believed to be the cause of the conjunctivitis.
Treatment will depend on whether there is an underlying cause to the conjunctivitis. Usually dogs will need to be on and anti-inflammatory eye medication initially until the problem is resolved. The ophthalmologist may also need to prescribe eye lubricants or oral medications if either dry eye or a bacterial infection is suspected. If the conjunctivitis is due to seasonal allergies, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed during the allergy seasons. If there are small hairs around the eye that are causing the irritation to the eye, the ophthalmologist may recommend having the hairs removed.