KERATOCONJUNCTIVITIS Sicca is a condition more commonly referred to as “dry eye” which may effect as many as 1 in 100 dogs.
Cats also may rarely be affected.
Caused by inadequate tear production, dry eye literally causes the surface of the eye to desiccate resulting in irritation, inflammation and pain to your pet’s eyes.
The condition may also lead to other serious complications.
If left untreated, ulceration, infection, scarring, and pigmentation can greatly reduce vision, and if severe may lead to loss of the eye.
Many things including immune cell infiltration or nerve problems can cause the reduced tear production seen in animals with dry eye.
Certain breeds are more susceptible than others, in particular dachshunds, Boston terriers, pugs and chihuahuas.
You should suspect dry eye if you pet’s eyes are “gunky”, red, painful, discoloured or swollen; or if there is reluctance to hold open their eyes.
It is important that if you suspect your pet is suffering from dry eye you have it immediately examined by a veterinarian for the greatest chance of preventing the more serious sequelae.
Diagnosis of dry eye is made using special strips of paper to assess the rate of tear production.
Treatment involves topical eye ointments and possibly surgery.
Artificial tears may also be required if tear production is found to be greatly decreased.
Dry eye can potentially be a very serious condition but if treated appropriately and quickly, your pet can lead a normal, happy, healthy life.