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Does your dog suffer from Dry Eye

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Dry Eye is one of the most common eye problems we see as vets, and affects as many as 1 in 22 dogs.

What is Dry Eye?

Also known as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), Dry Eye is when damage to the tear glands occurs resulting in too few natural tears being produced. Without tears, the eye becomes very dry and uncomfortable, and makes the eyes more susceptible to infection, conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers. Dark pigmentation may also develop due to new blood vessels growing on the surface of the eye.


Symptoms of Dry Eye in dogs

Signs to look out for include:

  • Uncomfortable eyes - your dog may blink excessively, rub its eyes or try to keep its eyes closed
  • Eyes red and inflamed
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Dry looking eyes
  • Frequent conjunctivitis, eye infections or corneal ulcers
  • Dark pigment on the surface of the eyes
  • Prominent blood vessels on the surface of the eyes

Dry Eye can affect all breeds at any age, however, certain breeds can be more prone to developing the condition, such as Cocker Spaniels, Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Westies, King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and English Bull Terriers.


How is Dry Eye diagnosed?

A Schirmer tear test (STT) measures the amount of tears produced. The STT involves placing a special strip of paper in the eye for one minute to assess tear production. The test will not cause your dog any discomfort and does not require sedation or anaesthesia. The results are available immediately. The amount of blue on the strip determines the amount of tears produced by the eye. As you can see from the image, in this dog, one eye is functioning normally whereas the second has produced no tears at all.


Treatment of Dry Eye

For the majority of cases, Dry Eye is a lifelong condition requiring daily treatment. If left untreated, the dog will experience pain and discomfort, and the disease could lead to permanent blindness. A simple eye ointment is available to treat Dry Eye, which can increase the amount of tear production, keeping the eyes lubricated and much more comfortable.

Book in to see one of our nurses for a FREE Schirmer tear test to find out if your dog has Dry Eye. You will also be entitled to regular discounts for treatment if you book in before 30th November 2016. Contact your local practice now to book an appointment.

For information about Dry Eye visit Dogdryeye.com


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