Canine Allergic Conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis is usually caused by airborne allergens, and although difficult to cure there are several ways to minimise its impact. This article discusses both conventional and complementary approaches.
Copyright (c) 2008 The Naturally Healthy Pet.com
Allergic conjunctivitis, as well as sneezing and other evidence of allergy, is increasingly common in dogs. This may be related to where their environment, or to changes in their immunity due to, for example, diet and exercise.
Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin layer of skin over the white of the eye and the inner surface of the lids. Allergy occurs when the immune system over-reacts to a stimulus, mistakenly thinking it is an infection or cancer that it needs to fight off.
A dog with allergic conjunctivitis is likely to have redness, swelling and watering of one or both (usually both) eyes. There may be thickening of the conjunctiva, and if the dog is irritated to the extent that it scratches the eyes, there may be corneal abrasions and other eye damage.
No treatment ("watchful waiting") is a valid option if symptoms are very mild. If possible, allergen avoidance is important. Bathing the eyes with a cool damp flannel may relieve some of the soreness and itching.
More severe allergic conjunctivitis will be treated with anti-inflammatory or antihistamine eye drops and ointments, and if any secondary bacterial infection is suspected, an antibiotic drop may be added. Occasionally a steroid drop will be used if treatment is otherwise unsuccessful.
Allergen testing may be needed to find the cause of the allergy.
A fundamental approach of most holistic therapists and vets is to look at diet for any source of allergy. It is worth trying a hypo-allergenic diet. In addition, allergens are often airbourne, so it is worth looking at environmental dust and pollution. Antioxidant supplements can help boost the immunity and reduce allergy.
Herbal Remedies: Burdock, Rosemary and Meadowsweet can all help with allergic conjunctivitis. Burdock (Arctium lappa) helps with detoxifying the tissues; Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, and Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) is another antiseptic and disinfectant. The eyes can be bathed in a decoction of fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare), Eyebright (Euphrasia officinallis) or elder flower (Sambucus nigra) to reduce soreness and inflammation.
Homeopathy: Apis mel can be used to rinse sore eyelids; arsen alb is used for more watery eyes.
Relaxation therapy, spiritual healing and general stress reducing measures will aid recovery from allergic conjunctivitis, as well as other ill-health. Healing work on the Brow chakra will particularly benefit the eyes.
Blue lace agate is useful for eye problems when using a crystal healing.
Flower Remedies: Bach remedies will help an underlying emotional problem which may be contributing to reduced immunity and allergy.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Alison Grimston is a holistic doctor and animal healer specializing in connecting and informing animal therapists. Her natural animal therapy website informs the public about animal therapies while connecting animal therapists worldwide. http://www.TheNaturallyHealthyPet.com