Dry Eye (KCS) in Dogs

Definition of Dry Eye

Dry eye, medically called keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS, is a painful condition involving abnormal function of the lacrimal glands, which normally produce tears. KCS is probably immune-mediated, which means that the dog’s immune system targets and attacks its own tear glands. How and why this happens is not well-understood. Dogs with KCS don’t produce enough tears to keep their eyes lubricated. The outer covering of their eyeballs (the cornea), and the lining of their eyelids (the conjunctiva), become dry, rough, red, inflamed, sensitive and fragile. Unfortunately, dry eye is common. Affected dogs are always uncomfortable. Their eyes are irritated, itchy, scratchy, painful and red. As the condition worsens, the cornea can ulcerate and slough because of the lack of adequate lubrication. Owners who suspect that their dog has dry eye should consult with a veterinarian, because this condition usually is manageable.

Causes and Prevention of Dry Eye (KCS) in Dogs

Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca or “KCS”) can occur in any dog. Most cases of KCS are thought to be caused by an auto-immune or immune-mediated disorder, which means that the dog’s immune system is targeting, attacking and damaging the functional tissue of its own tear glands. How or why this happens in dogs with dry eye is not well-understood. The mechanisms of the immune system are extraordinarily complex, and research is constantly underway to try

Symptoms of Dry Eye (KCS) in Dogs

Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS) is a painful and potentially dangerous condition caused by the inadequate production of tears. The eyes of affected animals – especially the outer covering of their eyeballs (the cornea) and the lining of their eyelids (the conjunctiva) – become dry, rough, red, inflamed, sensitive and fragile. Unfortunately, this condition is quite common. Dogs with dry eye have varying degrees of discomfort, ranging from mild to extremely severe. Their eyes

Diagnosing Dry Eye (KCS) in Dogs

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), more commonly referred to as “dry eye,” is not especially difficult to diagnose. When an owner brings his dog to the veterinarian with a recent history of rubbing and pawing at the face, build-up of crusty or pus-like discharge in the inner pockets of the eyes, swollen or twitching eyelids, excessive squinting and blinking and eye redness, the veterinarian’s initial evaluation will be relatively straightforward. He will take a complete history from

Treatment and Prognosis of Dry Eye (KCS) in Dogs

Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca or “KCS”) is a fairly common condition in companion dogs that involves insufficient production of tears. Depending on the cause of dry eye, it may or may not be curable. However, it almost always is manageable on an outpatient basis. The goals of treating dry eye are to: 1) stimulate tear production, if the tear glands can still function; 2) stabilize the tear film, so that it stays in the eyes

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