Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in Dogs: Symptoms and Diagnosis

What is It?

Dry eye, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, describes any condition that damages the ability to produce adequate tear film to lubricate the eye.

What Causes It?

There are several factors that can cause dry eye.

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What Are The Symptoms?

  • Excessive blinking
  • Squinting
  • Redness in eye
  • Eye discharge
  • Squeezing eyes shut
  • Pain
  • Corneal scarring
  • Corneal ulcer

Is it Life Threatening?

No. It is painful and can lead to blindness without proper treatment.

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How is It Diagnosed?

A veterinarian will perform a Schirmer Tear Test. This is completely painless and is completed in around a minute. The moisture level from that minute will be evaluated. Depending on severity, your vet may recommend a fluorescein stain to detect a corneal ulcer.

What Are The Treatments?

The source and severity of dry eye will dictate the treatment. Medication like cyclosporine or tacrolimus may be prescribed to stimulate tear production.

Artificial tears can help to lubricate the eye, only use with doctor recommendation. Antibiotics may be needed to correct the root cause of the dry eye.

Parotid duct transposition surgery, is only recommended in the most severe conditions. This surgery reroutes part of the saliva glands to the eye for lubrication.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pup’s condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian. Or, consult a virtual vet here.

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