Canine Dry Eye

a doctor holding a sign that reads canine dry eye

Canine Dry Eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, or KCS) is a common eye condition with dogs that happens when their eyes don’t produce enough tears to keep them lubricated and healthy. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental conditions, trauma, and certain medications.

Symptoms of Canine Dry Eye

  • Eye Redness
  • Eye Discharge
  • Squinting
  • Cloudy or opaque eyes
  • Corneal Ulceration (in severe cases)

These symptoms can lead to secondary infections if they’re not treated properly.

Stages of Canine Dry Eye

Mild Dry Eye:

At this stage, their eyes can be slightly red and there might be some discharge. Their eyes could also appear cloudy or opaque.

Moderate Dry Eye:

At this stage, their eyes are more red and there is more discharge. Squinting is common and their eyes could appear hazy or foggy. Corneal Ulceration can occur.

Severe Dry Eye:

At this stage, their eyes are very red and there is a lot of discharge. Squinting is constant and their eyes can appear completely opaque. Corneal Ulceration is common and blindness can occur if left untreated.

Treating Canine Dry Eye

Treating dry eye typically involves artificial tears or ointments to help lubricate their eyes and reduce inflammation. In more severe cases, medications such as cyclosporine could be prescribed to increase tear production.

It’s important to keep their eyes clean and free of debris to stop further irritation. Eye drops containing antibiotics could also be prescribed if there is an infection present. If you think your dog might have dry eyes, it’s important to take them to your veterinarian for an evaluation and treatment.

Preventing Canine Dry Eye

There are several steps you can take to help prevent dry eye. These include:

  • Keeping their eyes clean and free of debris
  • Avoiding exposure to smoke, dust, and other irritants
  • Making sure your dog is receiving adequate nutrition
  • Giving plenty of fresh water for your dog to drink
  • Limiting exposure to windy or dry environments
  • Making sure your dog is up to date on all their vaccinations
  • Taking your dog for regular eye exams with a veterinarian