Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye) in Dogs & Cats

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or dry eye, is often a chronic condition in both dogs and cats that requires diligent medical management. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options to effectively manage the disease.

Whether you’ve been referred to Armour Veterinary Ophthalmology by your primary care veterinarian or are seeking a second opinion for effective eye disease management for your pet, our caring team is here for you.

What is Keratoconjunctivis Sicca?

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a condition resulting from a lack of normal aqueous tear production, and is diagnosed with a Schirmer tear test. The aqueous layer is produced by the lacrimal gland (located on the globe) and the third eyelid gland.

A healthy tear film distributes oxygen and nutrients to the cornea and supportive structures around the eye. Typically, a normal tear film will decrease the number of pathogens that can adhere to the corneal surface.

When the aqueous tear production is low, dried patches of cornea can permit bacteria to connect with the cornea, resulting in corneal ulceration, ingrowth of blood vessels and scar tissue into the cornea, infection, ocular pain, and sometimes corneal rupture and loss of the eye.

Causes of KCS include:

  • Immune-mediated destruction of normal lacrimal gland tissue (which is the most common cause)
  • Metabolic diseases (Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, Cushings disease, etc)
  • Neuropathies of the inner/middle ear
  • Drug-induced toxicities

Medical management for KCS includes:

  • Immunomodulatory medications to boost the patients’ basal tear production
  • Antibiotics to decrease bacterial overgrowth
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Ocular lubricants

Other promising therapies are on the horizon for KCS as well, such as amnion therapy.

In certain severe cases, a parotid duct transposition may be discussed as a potential surgical option. This procedure, however, does have a high risk of complications (chronic periocular dermatitis, corneal mineralization, duct occlusion, etc).

In severe cases, eye removal may also be considered. Thankfully, most patients respond well to diligent medical management. This is often a lifelong chronic condition that requires medical management for the rest of the patient’s life.

Located inside the Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington D.C., we serve patients throughout the greater Washington D.C. area including Maryland and northern Virginia.

Has your pet been diagnosed with keratonconjuntivitis sicca? Want a second opinion?

Turn to the eye specialists for pets at Armour Veterinary Ophthalmology. Our practice is located inside the Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington D.C., conveniently located near Maryland and northern Virginia.