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Can a Dog's Pink Eye be Contagious to Humans?

Dog's Pink Eye

Can a dog's pink eye be contagious to humans? This is a very good question considering how easily pink eye can be passed from one person to another. Pink eye, medically known as conjunctivitis, also affects dogs, and just as in people, it causes similar symptoms. Knowing whether this condition can be passed to humans is important as most dogs enjoy close relations with their humans. We therefore asked veterinarina Dr.Ivana Vukasinovic whether a dog's pink eye can be contagious to humans.

dog pink eye

Is a Dog's Pink Eye Contagious to Humans?

Answered by veterinarian Dr.Ivana Vukasinovic

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the membrane called the conjunctiva, which overlaps and defends the anterior eye. Although this infection is not life-threatening, vision is an important organ for the dog and breeds that tend to have allergies or autoimmune skin diseases tend to have more problems with inflammation of the conjunctiva.

The condition is manifested by red, swollen eyes, and sometimes you can notice changes in the behavior of a dog which will be irritated by the inflammation, and will be constantly scratching around the infected eye.

Every form of conjunctivitis is different, but some of the signs are excessive blinking or squinting at one or both eyes, redness, and one eye may be closed and too narrow.

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Watery discharge from the eye often occurs, and there may sometimes additional symptoms like runny nose, itching, sneezing, swelling of the legs and secondary infections.

Various Forms of Conjunctivitis

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Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacterial, fungal or viral infection (infectious), and non-infectious causes such as chemicals, dust, cigarette smoke, or shampoo, glaucoma, foreign bodies, by abnormalities in the genetic structure of the eye or breed predetermination for the disease.

So is a dog's pink eye contagious to humans or other dogs? It ultimately depends on the type of conjunctivitis affecting your dog. If your dog's conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, it is usually not contagious to human, but most likely is to other dogs.

If your dog's conjunctivitis is bacterial though, it may be contagious to humans and other dogs. This works in an opposite way as well, so you can infect your own dog.

Prevention is the key; so if you or your dog already has a pink eye, you should treat it immediately, and then take necessary steps to avoid transmission, such as clean hands and surfaces prevention from scratching their eyes, frequent eyes cleaning.

Pink eyes symptoms usually subside in one to two weeks.

About the Author

DVM Ivana Vukasinovic is a veterinarian in Belgrade, capital city of Serbia.


She received her B.S from University of Belgrade in 2012, and her master’s degree from Veterinary University, Belgrade.

Before eventually becoming director of Vetanima Doo, company that sells animal food, medicine and supplements, she have worked in many different fields of sales. After finishing college, she started working as sales person in biggest Serbian bookshop chain, and being passionate about books, she had reached the position of publisher.

After leaving this field, she started working as a veterinary commercialist, and then landing a job as veterinarian at veterinary pharmacy, in the same company in which she is now acting as director.

When she is not working, she is either glued to some fantasy book or cooking for friends. She currently resides in Belgrade with her cat Mile.

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