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If there are no underlying problems such as an infection, you can usually successfully treat your dog’s dry eye at home. Founder of Bio Logic Aqua Research and hydrotherapy expert Sharon Kleyne says that she has been researching for ways to cure a serious pet ailment known as “dog dry eye” or KCS (kerato-conjunctivitis sicca). As the host of Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water, she is well aware of the fact that like us, a pet’s eyes need to be properly hydrated to stay healthy, as she is also a long-time pet owner herself.
KCS or dry eye occurs more often in dogs than cats, but they can both get it. Mrs. Kleyne says that due to the fact that dogs, by nature, are curious about the world around them, this creates more opportunities for dust, insects, particles, and other unwanted debris to enter their eyes while sniffing on the ground or investigating many things in the outside world. Aside from these normal instances, dry eye can also occur to your pet due to eye injuries or infections and some forms of medication. In addition, it can also be inherited.
The symptoms for dry eye among dogs include rubbing of their eyes with their paws (which usually leads to irritation), a dull-looking cornea, redness of the eyes, hypersensitivity to any form of light, inflamed eyelids, ocular discharge, rapid blinking or twitching of eyelids, and even being visually impaired.
Among the most common breeds with dog dry eye problems are the following: German shepherd, West Highland white terrier, Shi-Tzu, English bulldog, Dachshund, American cocker spaniel, Doberman pinscher, Yorkshire terrier, Chihuahua, Miniature Schnauzer, Boston Terrier, English Springer Spaniel, Lhasa Apso, and Pekingese. Also, it occurs more in females than males.
Many types of anti-dry eye medicine can be found in the over-the-counter (OTC) market or from your local vet. Just keep in mind that when there is a secondary eye infection (aside from the dry eye), it should be treated as well. Have your vet check to make sure it is not an infection, or possibly some other underlying problem. For eye discharges, they should be wiped away gently using a warm compress that is wet and clean.
So how does dry eye occur in a pet? Sharon Kleyne explains that when the natural tear film around the cornea (which protects it) loses around 99 percent of its water content, dry eye occurs. This tear film plays an important role in the eyes, as it transmits light and provides refreshing liquid to the eyes. Many researchers say that restoring the lost water on the tear film is the best solution. However, there is still a need for a more convenient way of doing this.
There are several OTC products that can be successfully used to treat your dog’s dry eye. If unsure which to use, check with your vet.