Q: I noticed that my dog’s lower eyelid is redder than usual after coming back from a long weekend spent walking. The dog is occasionally pawing and rubbing the eye and I’m not sure of the cause. What should be done in the first instance and when might it be sensible to call the vet?

A: From what you describe, your dog is likely to have developed dog conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis refers to in inflammation of the sensitive lining inside the eyelids. The conjunctiva has a rich blood supply so when irritated it gets red and becomes inflamed and itchy. Conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye disorders in dogs

Typically, the signs of conjunctivitis include a reddening of the conjunctiva, excess tears, swelling of the eyelids and A plight for sore eyes irritation, causing the dog to squint and paw at its eyes, as you describe. It can occur in either one or both eyes.

There are many causes of  dog conjunctivitis including trauma, allergies, foreign bodies and infection that may be due to bacterial, viral or other similar microbiological causes.

Certain breeds are predisposed to developing this condition, particularly those prone to either ectropion, where the everted or turned-out eyelid exposes the conjunctiva to insult, or entropion, where the in-turned eyelid causes the eyelashes to brush against the sensitive conjunctiva and cornea.

Obviously, treatment of your dog’s eye condition, conjunctivitis or not, relies on identifying and resolving the underlying cause, and unless you can see an obvious easily rectifiable cause, a thorough examination by your veterinary surgeon is to be recommended.

Eye health in dogs

Is my dog going blind?

I'm worried for my gundog's health! I have an elderly, but fit, Labrador and I am concerned that he may…