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Treating Your Dog's Dry Eye

How To Restore Normal Tear Flow to Your Dog

By Maureen Ryan. July 10, 2012 | See Comments

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    vet verified

    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

    DVM

Treating Your Dog's Dry Eye

How you treat chronic dry eye depends on the severity of the disease. Learn more, so you can get your best friend on the road to feeling better.

The goal of all treatments for KCS is to restore your dog’s tear function to normal levels. The method used depends upon the severity of the disease. The first step, however, is usually to determine if there is any underlying condition that needs to be treated. For instance, your veterinarian may need to discontinue medications that could be causing your pet’s dry eyes. Systemic disease such as hypothyroidism, which could contribute to the problem, must also be managed.

Medication

Your veterinarian may not be able to determine the cause of your pet’s dry eyes (or at least may not be able to pinpoint the source immediately). However, you can provide your dog with some immediate relief by administering artificial tears. This solution will need to be applied multiple times each day, which can be a challenge for pet owners.

Other treatments are aimed at eventually re-establishing normal tear flow. To achieve this, your veterinarian may treat your dog with one of the following medications:

  • Cyclosporine ointment, an immunosuppressive drug that may suppress the autoimmune response that is associated with many instances of KCS
  • Antibiotic ointment or drops to clear up a corneal ulcer or secondary infections
  • A corticosteroid often given in combination with an antibiotic such as tobramycin. Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation but must be used with caution since they can get in the way of healing ulcers or facial sores resulting from KCS

Surgery

In some severe cases that do not respond to medication your veterinarian may perform a parotid duct transposition. In this procedure, a saliva duct from the mouth is transplanted into the lining of the eye. Whenever saliva is produced in the mouth, it will also be released in the eye as well, keeping the eye lubricated and clean.

Home Care and Prevention

Caring for a dog with KCS requires a great deal of patience and careful attention. You will need to keep the eyes free of discharge, which can often be hard to remove. You may also need to apply artificial tear drops or ointment regularly throughout the day. Although, hopefully the use of those drops and ointments will only be needed until tear flow can be restored.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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