Eye diseases are as prevalent in canines as in humans. Conditions such as Conjunctival Hyperemia happen due to a prolong vascularity of the eyelids. An eye inflammation may diffuse and affect one or both the eyes.

What is Blepharitis in Dogs?

Blepharitis is an eye inflammation involving both the outer skin and the middle portion of the eyelids. This can also be seen as a secondary condition of the inner surface of the eyelids and is known as Palpebral Conjunctiva.


Types and Symptoms of Blepharitis

  1. Flaky skin near the eyes
  2. Intense scratching & itching
  3. Eye discharge with mucus or pus
  4. Thickening of the eyelids
  5. Excoriated skin & loss of hair
  6. Depigmentation of the affected area
  7. Formation of a papule & pustule
  8. Recurrence of conjunctivitis
  9. Watery painful eyes because of corneal issues

Different Causes 

Born with

  • Eyelid abnormalities
  • Extrusive nasal folds
  • Distichia
  • Ectopic Cilia
  • Inability to close the eyes completely


  • Immediate or Type 1: Due to extreme food, inhalant or insect bite reactions
  • Cytotoxic or Type 2: Extreme drug reactions to Pemphigoid or Pemphigus
  • Complex immune or Type 3: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Cell-Mediated or Type 4: Hypersensitivity to flea bites


  • Streptococcus
  • Staphylococcus


  • Adenocarcinomas
  • Sebaceous Adenomas
  • Mast cells

Other Causes

  • Traumatic injuries resulting in lacerations
  • Infections of the parasites resulting in Demodicosis
  • Viral infections such as FHV-1
  • Idiopathic reasons

Some dogs with some above mentioned congenital abnormalities are more likely to develop Blepharitis. Specific breeds are Pekingese, English Bulldogs, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweillers, Chow Chows, and Collies.

Diagnosis & Tests


The owner has to submit a thorough history of the dog’s health. The commencement of the symptoms and probable reasons that may have accelerated this condition is given a thorough check. The dog has to undergo several tests like complete physical examination, a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and total blood count.

The Vet may also collect samples from the affected ocular area which will be done to identify the causative micro-organism if present. A test with the name of Schirmer Tear Exam is done to determine if the eyes are producing enough tears. The examination may also reveal the presence of food allergy. In that case, further investigation is needed.

Treatment of Blepharitis

The overall treatment of this condition depends on the underlying causes of the disease. In many cases, the Vet may suggest the Elizabeth collar while severe cases may require heavy medications or even surgical intervention. If causes like food allergens are found, then the allergens need to be identified and deleted from the pet’s diet.

Other Treatments 

  1. Warm compresses according can help to loosen up the glands and clean away the dirt and debris
  2. Topical medicines can help to decrease the bacteria in the eyes with some ointment formulation that may relax the tears
  3. At times the owner has to give oral medications to the patients for weeks, or even months. Doxycycline and Cephalexin are some common antibiotics in this field
  4. In severe cases, a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug may work to decrease the swelling
  5. Make sure that the hairy areas of the eyes get frequent trimming

Living & Managing this Condition

The prognosis entirely depends on understanding and dealing with the underlying causes. It's a harsh truth that some dogs will not respond to these treatments while others will actively respond. A regular dose of antibiotics will dispose positive responses from the dog’s side.

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