One of the more common areas where a dog may experience problems is with their eyes. This type of an issue may manifest itself in many different ways but one of the common problems that occurs in many dogs is Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, which is commonly referred to as “dry eye syndrome.” This is an issue that could be somewhat uncomfortable for the dog but fortunately, there are treatment options available that can help your dog to be as comfortable as possible.
Dry eye syndrome affects the tears in the dog’s eyes, which form a covering for the surface and help to protect them from foreign matter. When the dog is experiencing this problem, they do not produce enough tears and as a result, the eyes become dry and the cornea becomes inflamed. It also affects the clear membrane over the eye, known as the conjunctiva.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a relatively common problem in dogs, although it is more likely to occur in certain breeds. Some of those breeds that commonly experience dry eye syndrome include Bulldogs, West Highland white Terriers, cocker spaniel’s, shih-tzus and Lhasa apsos. Some veterinarians also feel that females are more likely to have a problem with dry eye syndrome than males.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome in a dog are not always easy to recognize. That is why it is a good idea to keep a close eye on your dog and to report anything unusual that they may be experiencing when you visit the veterinarian. Some of the common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include excessive blinking, conjunctivitis, a mucus discharge, changes in the appearance of the eye and swollen blood vessels in the conjunctiva.
A number of different causes of dry eye syndrome exist. Some of them may be breed-specific, such as congenital issues that are more likely to occur in Yorkshire Terriers and pugs. They may also be suffering from an autoimmune condition that affects the glands that produce tears. Other conditions that can lead to dry eye syndrome include drug toxicity, bacterial and viral infections and chronic inflammation of the eyelids and conjunctiva.
Your veterinarian will need to make the determination if your dog is suffering from dry eye syndrome. This may include a thorough examination and information about their medical history or the history of their family line. Tests may also be run to determine if they are producing enough tears or if there are other issues with the eye that could be leading to dry eye syndrome.
If the dry eye syndrome is a primary issue, you may have to give your dog artificial tear medications or other medicines to help lubricate the eyes. They may also receive an antibiotic in case an infection exists. If the dry eye syndrome is a secondary problem, your dog may need to receive additional treatment for the underlying issue.