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How to Recognize and Treat Dry Eye Syndrome in Dogs

Updated on March 11, 2015
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Missing Link is originally from rural Ohio. He currently lives in Hillsboro, OR. with his Wife and two Sons.


Dry Eye Syndrome in dogs is very serious if left untreated. This article will tell you how to recognize and treat the ailment.

Dry eye syndrome is also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca. Basically, the eyes lose their ability to produce lubricant. A primary sign your dog has this is that quite a bit of mucous like buildup forms in the eyes. I realize this is somewhat disgusting but I'm telling you the way it is. Your dog may then start bumping into things because they cannot see very well. You will need to clear the gunk from their eyes. I do this with Q tips. Once the eyes are cleared you may then notice their eye is dry with lots of redness. This condition will not get better if left untreated. You will need to take your good buddy to the vet.

A veterinarian is likely to prescribe Opti Immune, Neomycin/Polymyxin and, eye drops. Opti Immune is an ophthalmic ointment with Cyclosporine as the active ingredient. You will need to put a little bit of this in each eye twice a day. It is quite expensive unfortunately. Neomycin Polymyxin is an antibiotic and steroid combination used to treat infections and to relieve redness, irritation, and discomfort. This will need to be used 1-2x daily. The third thing you will need is eye drops and these can be used as needed----maybe 3x a day. This may seem like a lot but as time goes by you probably can just use the Opti Immune and the other two can be discontinued. This all depends of course on your own unique situation; this can be discussed with your veterinarian.

The treatment described thus far is maintenance therapy as it is highly unlikely the syndrome will be cured via this route. The only cure is a surgery called Parotid Duct Transposition. Your dog is put under anesthesia and a connection to the salivary gland is redirected to the eye. This cures the syndrome but as with any surgical procedure, success is not guaranteed. Your dog will likely need a protective cone around their neck for awhile afterwards so they cannot mess with the surgical site. This surgery is very expensive.

I know a lot about dry eye syndrome because my dog, Charlie, has it. We use Opti-immune 2x daily in each eye. Of course I regularly have to get gunk out of his eyes with Q tips. We are not going to do the surgery because I don't have the money and because Charlie is old already at 14 years of age.

Best wishes!


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