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Thread: Conjunctivitis from digging?

  1. #1

    Default Conjunctivitis from digging?

    Hello all,

    We have a 13 week old Red Cattle dog that is absolutely wonderful. She's friendly, not aggressive in the least (really a giant baby), and has lots of energy. She's very healthy overall, but we keep having issues with her eyes.

    About two-three weeks ago we brought her to the vet for what appeared to be conjunctivitis. He said it was and gave us some eye ointment (Chlorsig) and she did very well on that and it appeared to all clear up. After the seven day period we stopped treatment and within two days the pink eye was back. So we gave her another course of the ointment, it cleared up, then upon stopping it was back.

    So we brought to the vet yesterday and he had another look and pulled out her third eyelid (gross!) and saw that it was inflamed and infected. He said that she was probably getting this reoccurring inflection due to digging, which was common for her breed. She does love to dig, and she's always digging up the garden or sand at the beach. We obviously need to put a stop to this, though I'm not sure how successful we'll be (she loves digging up old bones).

    We were prescribed an antibiotic/cortisone ointment this time (Chloroint), but the vet didn't seem overly optimistic as she's displaying a breed specific behaviour. He mentioned that we may have to get her on a supplement plan (fish oil) to help things.

    Has anyone had issues with this? Is there anything we can do (naturally or otherwise) for her aside from discouraging digging? Any and all recommendations/advice are welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Logan, Brisbane QLD


    I have.. in my cats and it was bloody terrible! We spent hundreds of dollars on treatment because the infection kept passing around.

    We brought our second kitten home and i noticed his eye was all gunky and watery. Thinking it was just dirty i was cleaning it out with water and cotton buds. Within days i noticed something wrong with possum's eye (our first cat) and it looked as though his eye had been scratched out. Freaking that he might be losing his eyeball i took him to the vet when he was diagnosed with chlymadia of the eye?? (cat conjunctivitis) both cat's had eye drops that i had to use, a week later it still hadn't cleared so they also had to go on anti-biotics. It honestly would clear up in the both of them & then come back all of a sudden. We had to try a range of eye drops, antibiotics one even had to go into surgery it would have taken a whole year before i saw the last of it.

    Even when we got our third cat, poppy 6months after the condition first appeared in the other two - her eyes starting playing up as well except hers were the worst. She had to go into surgery to have a good look at what was going on. Thankfully i haven't seen it re-occur in any of them since, it was quite disturbing as it almost looked as if the eye was shrivelling up.

    I don't really have an recommendations as i have no idea how we even got rid of it. Just persevering with the treatments and continue talking with the vet. maybe try keeping her indoors or in the garage to prevent her from digging just until the infection has cleared. Other people will be able to give you advice to stop her from digging in the long run as i don't have any ideas.
    Last edited by Kuri_89; 02-17-2012 at 11:48 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    se qld


    Can you make her a clean sandpit to bury her bones in?

    My dog gets inflamed skin around his eyes from digging
    (he is usually digging for beetles or an ant nest)
    I give him Traumeel and some homeopathic allergy pills from my vet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    My dog likes to dig. Occasionally she gets eye snot / mild infection but it goes away by itself - sometimes I wipe it out with warm salty water and kleenex but as long as it clears up, all good.

    Personally I can't leave her with bones to bury or dig up - because she breaks the bones up and swallows the splinters and that comes back to haunt us, usually at 3am when she has to vomit up the pieces or has an explosion at the other end.

    I'm thinking the bone bacteria might be bad and making the infections worse - so maybe let your puppy have a bone for 10 minutes or so and before she gets to the point of burying it or busting it up, take it away from her (and put it in the bin). I find our first experiment with rotting meat on bone was not worth repeating - I don't want to clean up that mess again. She either eats what she's got or I take it away but mostly she gets carrots or rawhide chips or dentastix not bones these days.

  5. #5


    Has the vet considered an allergy? One of mine in particular can get snotty eyes sometimes. I never thought much of it but just used the antibiotic ointment. But talking to another breeder about hayfever in humans and she said she always watches her dogs eyes. If they get snotty eyes she is guaranteed to get bad hayfever within the next few days.

    Sure enough, mine are the same. If I see snotty eyes, my sneezes are not far behind - and out comes the Zyrtec for me. I keep the dog's eyes flushed once a day with saline for a day or two and all is good.

    Could your girl benefit from an antihistamine instead of an antibiotic?

  6. #6


    I would be very careful putting Cortisone into the eye. It can cause a corneal ulcer. By the way was the dog checked for a corneal ulcer (yellow fluid into eye)?

  7. #7


    She's been checked over pretty thoroughly, and it has been an infection time after time (green discharge from her eyes). We went the saline route, but it really didn't do anything at all. We were told that at 13 weeks it was unlikely to be allergies, particularly considering the green discharge.

    I have put some repellant in the areas of the garden where she was digging before (seems to be working), though I noticed yesterday that after she went to the beach and the next day her third eyelid was considerably more red (both eyes). She's on the cortisone until Thursday (1 week), but things appear to be going the same way as when she was on the antibacterial ointment. She looks alright when she's being treated, but I'm fairly sure that when we stop treatment the infection will come back. Frustrating!

    I'm worried because the vet had mentioned that the next step if the issue wasn't resolved may be to scrape the third eyelid, but it's supposed to be painful and I REALLY don't want her to go through that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011


    My dog gets sore crusty eyes from digging to, so I filled one of those shells with really silky sand (sounds stupid but its quite soft and didnt irritate her as much) and she has had less of a problem since. They still get red from time to time but generally theyre ok. I think the texture of the sand helped!

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