Dry Itchy Eyes
Did you know that keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), more commonly referred to as ‘dry eye’ is one of the most common eye problems in dogs?
Dry eye affects 1 in 22 of all dogs shown in recent surveys.
In most cases, dry eye is caused by destruction of the tear glands by your dog’s own immune system, leading to partial or total loss of tear production.
Tears play a key role in keeping eyes healthy. They lubricate and cleanse the eyes, carry vital nutrients and oxygen to the surface of the eye and help protect against infection. Healthy eyes should be bright and clear.
Without tears, the eyes will become progressively more dry and uncomfortable for your pet. However, dry eye has a very variable appearance, with some pets’ eyes appearing relatively normal in early stages, despite little or no measurable tear production. Symptoms can include dry, itchy and crusty eyes.
There is a quick and simple test to diagnose dry eye in your dog (or cat) and better still, medication, usually in the form of an ointment, which can improve tear production and reverse many of the signs of dry eye, maintaining vision and keeping pets comfortable.
If your pet has any of these symptoms you should contact your vet for an appointment/advice. The earlier the problem is diagnosed and treatment started, the better the long term outlook for affected pets is.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.