Conjunctivitis or sore eyes? Could your dog be suffering from “dry eye”?
Dry Eye (or Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca) is a common condition where dogs do not produce enough tears to keep their eyes healthy. It can affect around 1 in 22 of all dogs.
The symptoms of dry eye can vary and be subtle in early cases: signs of pain (including excessive blinking or rubbing of eyes), a dull or dry appearance to the eyes, discharge from one or both eyes, repeated episodes of conjunctivitis or corneal ulceration. Long-term, dry eye can lead to pigmentation, scarring and even blindness.
Certain breeds are pre-disposed to developing dry eye, including: Westies, Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Pugs, Yorkies, Lhasa Apsos, Shih-Tzus, Pekingese, Cavaliers.
Dry eye can easily be diagnosed by performing a Schirmer Tear Test to measure the dog’s tear production. This involves a small strip of paper placed behind the dog’s lower eyelid for 1 minute. Dogs are generally quite happy to allow the test, which can be done as part of a routine consultation.
The earlier dry eye is diagnosed, the more likely that treatment will be successful. Treatment is by using lubricant tear replacement drops and with Optimmune eye drops which help stimulate tear production and reduce further damage to the tear glands. Treatment is often needed life-long.
For further information or to book your dog an eye check-up, please contact us on 01769 572176 or 01271 344262.