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Dry Eye - Take a Closer Look!

Dry Eye Dog 2

Did you know that, like us, our canine friends are prone to suffering from dry eyes?

Much like the human eye, dogs can develop ulcers which in turn can lead to permanent blindness. Thankfully, Dry Eye is fairly straightforward to treat.

July is Dry Eye Awareness month and our practices are proud to be bringing awareness to this often undiagnosed disease. From 1st July – 31st August 2015 we will be offering FREE Schirmer tear tests to diagnose Dry Eye. Click here to find out how you can claim your free voucher for redemption in any of our practices.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry Eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitus (KCS), is a very painful condition that affects 1 in 22 dogs.

Dry Eye can be caused by a number of factors such as trauma or injury to the eye. But the most common cause of Dry Eye is due to an autoimmune response. This means that our doggy’s immune system attacks the body’s own cells, which, in the case of Dry Eye, are the glands that produce tears.

Why are tears important? Tears play a crucial role in maintaining the healthy function of the eye. They carry vital nutrients and oxygen to the tissues to help protect them from infections.

Is your dog at risk?

All breeds can develop Dry Eye at any stage, but some are more prone than others. The breeds most commonly affected by Dry Eye include:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Shih Tzus
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Pekingese
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Pugs
  • Bulldogs

What are the signs?

Dry Eye can be difficult to detect in the early stages. Your dog may blink excessively, rub their eyes or they’ll try to keep their eyes closed.  A simple gaze through the eye can help you determine whether there is a problem.  

Your pet may also display the following signs:

  • Red or inflamed eyes
  • Excessive discharge from the eyes
  • Dry and crusty looking eyes
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Frequent conjunctivitis
  • Dark colouration or blood vessels on the surface of the eyes

When should you take a closer look?

Dry Eye can also be a symptom of a larger health issue, so if your dog displays any of the abnormalities mentioned, it is crucial to seek help from your vet immediately.

Dog owners can complete a risk assessment and download a voucher for a FREE Schirmer tear test which can be redeemed at any Medivet practice.

Your vet will carry out the FREE tear test – this only takes 60 seconds per eye and involves a thin strip of paper. The paper is folded and placed onto the cornea (don’t worry, it sounds annoying to us but dogs handle it surprisingly well!). This simple process will help the vet determine whether enough tears are being produced.

Treatment of Dry Eye

Treatment of Dry Eye is lifelong. The medication does not cure the condition but rather controls it and this consists of daily (sometimes twice a day) eye drops, unless there is a secondary disease that calls for urgent surgery.

Although it can be fairly fiddly to dispense eye drops, your pet will not take it personally. In fact, they will be incredibly thankful as you are helping to ease the pain!

Your vet will be able to provide you with all the support and guidance you need with dispensing of drops to make it as easy as possible for you and your pet.

Remember, Dry Eye, if left untreated, is incredibly painful for your pet. If you suspect your pet is suffering from this disease, seek veterinary advice immediately.

Our team of vets and nurses are always willing to help with any queries you have. For more information and advice, use our online practice finder to locate your nearest Medivet and speak to a member of the team today!

Are you a member of the Medivet Healthcare Plan? Don’t forget you will receive 10% off all vet care and medications. 

Posted June 30, 2015 in Pet Care Advice

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