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Dry Eye

Dry eye; medically know as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), is a common condition which often goes undiagnosed.

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Any dog can be affected however it is commonly seen in West Highland White Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Tears act as a lubricant for the eyes and also act to wash out particles which may blow in. In dry eye there is a lack of these tears so problems can occur which may be painful for your pet such as ulcers on the surface of the eye.

Symptoms: Early symptoms are inflammation and redness of the eyes which may respond initially to eye drops although will often recur. As symptoms progress you may notice mucous strings across the eyes and at later stages the eye can look dull and dry without the normal sheen. In some cases blindness can occur.

Causes: There are various causes such as the animal’s immune system destroying the tear glands, congenital reasons animals are born with or certain infections.

Diagnosis: Dry eye is easily diagnosed in 60 seconds. A special paper strip called a schirmer tear test is applied between the eye and lower eyelid. This is well tolerated by most pets. The tears will travel up the strip and the distance travelled analysed.

Treatment: Unfortunately there is not usually a cure however the condition can be managed to try and improve comfort levels and reduce complications.

1) Artificial tears - this can be quite time consuming and require application several times throughout the day

2) Eye drops to stimulate tear production - this is applied to the eyes twice daily and prevents the immune system destroying the tear production. This is the ideal treatment of choice.

Prognosis: This can vary depending on initial causes however many animals respond very well. If you are concerned or have a predisposed breed and would like to book in for a free schirmer tear test please contact your local Budget Vets branch.

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