Dry eye, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a condition caused by insufficient tear film, so that the cornea dries out making it prone to damage and infection.
What dogs are most at risk?
Dry eye is most common in certain breeds, including the shih tzu, Lhasa apso, pug, English bulldog, cocker spaniel, West Highland white terrier, miniature schnauzer, miniature poodle, and Pekingese. Dogs with “pushed-in” faces and bulging eyes (eg, pugs and Boston terriers) are especially at risk because their eyelids don’t always completely cover the surface of the eye, allowing the center of the cornea to dry out even when tears are sufficient.
How can I tell if my dog has dry eye?
Pets with dry eye often have repeated eye infections. Your veterinarian can test specifically for KCS using the Schirmer tear test, which measures how far tears advance down a strip of filter paper.
How do you treat dogs with dry eye?
Treatment for KCS includes frequent use of artificial tears to replace the natural tear film, and topical antibiotics are often needed to treat secondary eye infections. Some pets may benefit from topical or oral medications that can increase natural tear production.