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     Dogs and Allergic Conjunctivitis   

By: Alison Grimston

Copyright (c) 2008 The Naturally Healthy

Allergic conjunctivitis, as well as sneezing and other evidence of allergy, is increasing in incidence in dogs. This may be related to where they live, 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. Allergen avoidance is important, as far as it is possible. Bathing the eyes with a cool flannel may relieve some 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. In severe cases a steroid drop will be used if treatment is otherwise unsuccessful.

Allergy testing may be needed to find the cause of the allergy.

Most holistic therapists and vets will look to the diet for a 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, Meadowsweet & Rosemary 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.

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.

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