Dry eye

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - with Dr An­drew Col­son VET­ERI­NAR­IAN

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.

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