What is dry eye aka keratoconjunctivitis sicca?
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or more commonly known as dry eye syndrome refers to inflammation of the cornea and the surrounding tissues. This stops the pug from producing tears which is crucial to the maintenance of healthy eyes. The tears provide lubrication for the puggys eyes but also helps to wash out bacteria or debris which may irritate the eyes further. Pugs as a breed are more predisposed to getting dry eye than certain other breeds.
What causes dry eye?
Anything that impairs the eyes ability to produce an appropriate amount of tear film can result in dry eye. Due to how exposed pugs eyes are it is essential that owners keep aware of this condition and how to spot the early signs. Dry eye can be caused by inflammation, infection and can also be caused by drug toxicity whereby certain medications can dry out the eyes. Head injuries may damage the tissues around the pugs eye which may then lead to dry eye. Owners should closely monitor the eye area should their pug suffer an injury.
When the pugs eyes are not properly lubricated they can become irritated and the conjunctiva may appear red. If left for a period of time untreated the pugs cornea will turn brownish colour and there may be some yellowish discharge, this may lead to a loss of vison if left unattended. If your pug is exhibiting these symptoms you should seek treatment immediately. The image below showcases varying degrees of dry eye in different dog breeds.
How can I help my pug?
Owners can gently clean the pugs eyes a couple of times a day with a wet washcloth to help stimulate tear production. Do this with aim to stopping dry eye from surfacing in the first place. To help dry eye syndrome that has already surfaced treatment must replace tear film and/or stimulate tear production. Cyclosporine and Tacrolimus are two commonly used medications which stimulate tear production whereas tear film replacement is often used in combination with these drugs as well as anti-biotics or other medication. Surgical options are also available for more severe cases, owners should seek help from their veterinary professional with this option.
pugcare.co.uk is not a replacement for proper veterinary care, if you are concerned about your pugs welfare please see a professional.