Dry Eye Drops for Dogs

If your dog is experiencing a condition known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or dry eye, drops may be prescribed by your vet to combat and cure this condition. Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or KCS is a condition wherein the tear ducts either quit producing tears to keep the eye moist or they don’t produce enough tears to keep the eye moist. Just as in the human condition of dry eye, this condition can be very painful to your dog and should be managed as quickly as possible.

Health Benefits of Proper Tear Production

Obviously, when tears are produced in normal quantities, your dogs eyes will be moist and comfortable. However, tears also wash away bacteria and other contaminants from the surface of the eye. A dry eye will also not have a healthy cornea. The cornea is the transparent protective cover of the eye that is in the shape of a dome over the eye. The cornea, being clear, doesn’t have blood vessels in it. This means it gets the oxygen and other necessary nutrients it needs from the tears that healthy tear ducts produce.

Causes of Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

Veterinary science is not absolutely sure what causes KCS in an otherwise healthy dog. Some drugs containing sulfa have been shown to produce a toxic effect that may cause dry eye, but this isn’t always the case. Another possible cause may be canine distemper and/or other viral infections. Some veterinary researchers believe there may be a connection between hypothyroidism and dry eye.

KCS Symptoms

Obviously, the foremost symptom of this condition is that your dog’s eyes will be dry. Dullness of the eye (lack of brilliance or shine) may also accompany the dryness. Constant or recurrent eye infection or ulcers of the cornea may occur. Look for a thick, green discharge around the eyes that tends to stick to the fur surrounding the eyes. A dog’s tear ducts can be stimulated to produce tears by rapidly blinking. If you notice your dog blinking or winking a lot, this may be a sign of dry eye. There may also be a crusty buildup around your dog’s nostrils. Lack of prompt treatment can cause partial and in some more serious cases, complete, blindness.

Indicated Treatments for Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

The main goal when treating this condition is to stimulate tear production and to keep the cornea of the eye free from foreign contaminants and bacteria. Your vet may choose any one of or a combination of two or more of the following treatment options. Cyclosporine may be used to reverse the effects of bacterial contamination in the cornea and stimulate tear production. Topical artificial tear ointments are more helpful than drops because they don’t wash or drain away as quickly and easily as drops and thus remain in contact with the eye for much longer. If there is a marked buildup of mucous in and around the eye, topical antibacterial drops may be prescribed. These drops will help to keep bacterial growth in the mucous under control with a medication such as neomycin or bacitracin, while helping to wash way the excess mucosal buildup.

Canine KCS, dry eye, can be a very serious condition, but, if caught quickly can be combated with eye drops and/or ointments.