Is your dog or cat suffering from dry eye?

Is your dog or cat suffering from dry eye

Dry eye in dogs and cats can cause redness and irritation of your pet’s eyes. If left untreated it can lead to blindness.

What is dry eye in dogs and cats?

Dry eye, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is when the eye’s tear film does not have sufficient amount of tear volume.

What are symptoms of dry eye in dogs and cats?

Irritated eyes, redness of the conjunctival tissues, yellow discharge around the eyes. If left untreated, dry eye can lead to blindness.

What causes dry eye in dogs and cats?

Dry eye can be caused by a variety of reasons. The most common cause of dry is linked to immune mediated destruction of the tear producing gland tissue. It has been found to be prevalent in the following dog breeds: Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer, and West Highland White Terrier. Other causes of dry are: an upper respiratory infection caused by herpes in cats, canine distemper in dogs, or your pet could have been born without or with only a small amount of the gland tissue that produces tears. In addition, being exposed to antibiotics that contain sulfa or anesthesia can cause a temporary in tear production, or if the tear producing gland has been surgically removed.

How is dry in dogs and cats diagnosed?

If you notice your pet has any of the symptoms mentioned above, take it to a veterinarian right as Keratoconjunctivitis sicca can lead to blindness. To determine how dry the eyes are, the veterinarian will measure tear production by the means of a Schirmer Tear Test: a simple exam that takes only a minute. The test is so easy to perform you can do it at home.

Schirmer Tear Test Strips

Schirmer Tear Test Strips

Schirmer Tear Test Strips help determine whether the eye produces enough tears to keep it moist.

How is dry eye in dogs and cats treated?

Once your pet is diagnosed with dry eye, your veterinarian will suggest either surgery (in extreme cases), or medication (the most common method of treatment).

Your veterinarian might recommend the following medications:
cyclosporine

Cyclosporine

Cyclosporine – has been proven effective in treating dry eye. It is most commonly used to treat Atopica Dermatitis and immune-medicated anemia. Cyclosporine is available in the following strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. This medication requires a prescription from a veterinarian.

pilocarpine

Pilocarpine

Pilocarpine – is primarily used to treat glaucoma, but can be used to treat dry eye in dogs and cats. Pilocarpine Hydrochloride Ophthalmic Solution requires a prescription from a veterinarian.

Artificial Tears

Artificial Tears

Artificial Tears Ophthalmic Solution helps relieve dryness of the eyes and helps prevent irritation. Artificial Tears Ophthalmic Solution’s active ingredient is polyvinyl alcohol.

In conclusion, dry eye occurs when your pet’s tear film does not have enough tear volume. Dry eye is caused by an upper respiratory infection caused by herpes in cats, canine distemper in dogs, or your pet could have been born without or with only a small amount of the gland tissue that produces tears. In addition, being exposed to antibiotics that contain sulfa or being under anesthesia can cause a temporary in tear production, or if the tear producing gland has been surgically removed. The most common cause of dry eye is due to immune mediated destruction of the tear producing gland tissue. This condition is common in Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Schnauzers, and West Highland White Terriers. Treatment may involve surgery, but in most cases dry eye is treated with medication. Dry eye can lead to blindness. Therefore it is imperative that your pet sees a veterinarian if you suspect it has dry eye.

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