Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, also known as Dry Eye Syndrome, keratitis sicca or KCS, is a potentially blinding condition that develops due to decrease of tear production in the eye. Early identification and treatment is crucial to preventing the destruction of the cornea. Two forms of treatment are available: drug therapy and surgery.
Treating KCS medically is important for increasing tear production, applying artificial tears, reducing any bacterial infections, and decreasing inflammation and scarring of the cornea.
Replacement therapy includes:
Surgery may include Parotid Duct Transposition, an operation to move the salivary duct from the mouth up to the eye, so that the eye is kept wet by saliva rather than tears. Normally the parotid salivary gland empties saliva into the mouth. If this gland is working properly, and has not been affected by the cause of the KCS, this operation can be performed by a specialist eye surgeon. The surgery is helpful for those dogs that remain persistently in pain and squinty despite trying all forms of medical therapy.
Parotid Duct Transposition does not cure the KCS completely and life long medication will be administered to keep the eye and face clean and to manage the condition of the affected eyes.
There are a number of potential problems with this procedure:
For this reason, a Parotid Duct Transposition should not be undertaken lightly, and only after medical treatment has proven unsuccessful.
Treating Dogs Affected with Dry Eye/Curly Coat (DE/CC) Syndrome
Most dogs diagnosed with Dry Eye/Curly Coat (DE/CC) Syndrome are euthanized. DE/CC dogs require consistent daily care and attention, including medicinal bathing to treat the skin disorder. No standardized medical treatment guidelines have been establishe for dogs with this condition.
Most cases of KVS have very characteristic symptoms that can resemble simple conjunctivitis. A correct diagnosis of KCS involves measuring the dog’s tear flow. This is done by the "Schirmer Tear Test", which takes just one minute.
The Schirmer Tear Test involves placing a standard paper strip between the lower eyelid and the eyeball for 60 seconds, and measuring the distance that the tears move along the strip. If the tears have moved more than 15mm, the dog is normal. If the tears have moved less than 10mm, the dog is considered to be abnormal and affected with KCS. In cases where the tears have moved between 10-15mm, affected individuals could be either normal or abnormal. In dogs that have very characteristic symptoms, the usual practice is to treat the eye symptomatically, and retest one month later if the symptoms have not subsided.
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