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Dry-Eye in Dogs

Natural tears are essential lubrication for eyes. Tears also have other functions in that they carry vital nutrients and oxygen, they lubricate and cleanse- helping to remove debris and they also help protect against infection.


With insufficient tears, eyes become dry, uncomfortable and prone to damage.

Conjunctivitis is common, also ulceration of the cornea- the clear part at the front of the eye. As a result, new blood vessels can grow over the cornea and it can become dark and pigmented. The condition is often very painful and ultimately can lead to blindness.


Dry-eye occurs when the immune system of the dog recognises the tear producing glands as foreign and begins to destroy the gland. This can progress, if untreated into a permanent loss of function.


The condition is important to diagnose early


Not all cases of dry-eye look the same so are often difficult to recognise- see the picture above of two different dogs with the problem. Approximately 1 in 20 dogs are affected.

It is therefore important to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect any eye problem. The good news is a simple test can diagnose and with life-long treatment sight can be preserved.

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