Dry Eye Syndrome is an eye disease that occurs when the eye produces less tears or tears are evaporating too quickly. Humans can suffer from dry eye syndrome as well as dogs. Symptoms of dry eye syndrome in dogs include itchy, burning, tired or puffy eyes and often a yellowish, thick discharge. Dogs may think they have something in their eyes all the time which leads to irritable behavior and even a desire to keep scratching at them. Plus as the tears are not flushing out dust, pollen and dirt, there may be a built up of dirt around the eye.
Dry eye syndrome if untreated can lead to sensitivity to light, constant discomfort and increased blinking. There is a greater risk of eye infections. It can lead to long-term eye damage such as corneal ulcerations and in very extreme cases, loss of sight.
Dry eye syndrome in dogs in quite common. Many dogs have a genetic disposition to DES (also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS). Breeds of dog which may be pre-disposed to developing dry eyes syndrome include:
Boston Terrier Bulldogs, Bloodhounds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chinese Shar-Pei, Cocker Spaniels, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pugs, Shih Tzu, West Highland White Terrier
Things You Will NeedFirst, take your dog to a vet to get dry eye syndrome properly diagnosed. Vet will conduct what's called a Schirmer tear test. It's a small piece of absorbent material which is placed in the eye to soak up tears. After about one minute, the Schirmer tear test strip is studied to see how much moisture (i.e. tears) was produced. If there wasn't enough tear production, then your dog is suffering from dry eyes.
The vet should also ask about your dog's medical history since past infections or eye operations may have damaged the tear glands or their nerves. It's also important to check if the dog is currently on any medication as there are drugs including sulfonamides which can impair the nerves or the glands in the eyes or both. Normally vets will recommend stopping that course of drugs immediately and will suggest alternative solutions.
Step 1Once the condition and the causes have identified, there are cyclosporine eyedrops or ointment which cure dry eyes. Cyclosporine stimulates the production of tears. If cyclosporine does not work or is inappropriate, then tacrolimus might be used.
Step 2If necessary, there are solutions to create artificial tears.
Step 3If the dry eye symptoms do not improve, then surgery may be performed on severe cases. This involves transplanting a salivary duct into the upper eyelid area. So saliva replaces tears to provide lubrication. This procedure is known as "parotid duct" transposition.
Look for a good, experienced vet in your neighborhood and cure dry eye syndrome in your dog
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