Q. We have a Dogo Argentino who is 11 years old. A few days ago he started to look funny around his eyes, which are puffy and seem painful to him. I sent a couple of pictures. Can you give me your opinion?
A. It is helpful that you sent photos so I can get a better idea of his problem, and I encourage other dog owners to do the same.
It appears that both of your dogs’ eyes are affected equally, and that they are painful and swollen. Also, the tissue around both eyes is very reddened and inflamed, which is the definition of conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis can be caused by blunt trauma (running into a stick, for example), irritation from things such as dust or very windy conditions, an allergic response, or infection. In this case, irritation, allergy or infection are most likely, because both eyes are affected.
The two recommended initial treatments should be some diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at a dose of about 25 mg, given every 6 to 8 hours. In addition, you should try to get a prescription for some triple antibiotic opthalmic ointment with a steroid added. The antibiotics can help with any infection, and the steroid will help with redness and swelling. Artificial tears may also be beneficial, but do not use any human eye drops such as Visine, as they can be irritating to dogs.
If there is no improvement within 24 hours, a thorough exam by a veterinarian will be necessary, to make sure it is not something more serious, such as glaucoma or uveitis. You should avoid keeping your dog out of dusty or very windy conditions while his eyes are swollen and red.
Jon Geller, DVM, DABVP