Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome, also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is a common, potentially blinding condition of the eye. Breeds that are affected most often include the Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Pug, American Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer, and Dachshund. In response to chronic KCS, the corneal surface thickens and becomes irregular resulting in pigmentary keratitis, which eventually leads to irreversible blindness. Pugs, Miniature Schnauzers, and Dachshunds are especially prone to this form of keratitis. In severe or chronic cases, keratitis may occur with erosion and ulceration of the corneal surface and photophobia. Changes in the eye surface with decreased tear production predisposes the corneal surface to bacterial infections. The most frequent cause is believed to be an immune disorder that leads to a decrease of watery component of the tear film. Approximately 72 percent of the dogs with KCS have the disease in both eyes. Other causes include:

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are predisposed to dry eye syndrome.

First signs KCS are mucoid discharge from the eye, conjunctivitis, keratitis, and pain marked by constant pawing of the eye.

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The diagnosis of KCS is based on tear tests and evaluation of the mucoid contents of the eye discharge. Treatment consists of drug therapy and surgery. Therapy includes artificial tears, eye ointments that works by stimulating the tear gland to produce more tears, cyclosporin antibiotics, mucolytics, and hormones. Surgery may include parotid duct transposition to move the salivary duct from the mouth up to the eye, so that the eye is kept wet by saliva rather than tears; conjunctival flaps, contact lenses, superficial keratectomy are also used. The operation does not cure the KCS completely and life long medications will be administered to keep the eye clean.

A recent study proved association of traditional immune-suppressive therapy with the antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties of the nutraceutical diet resulted in a significant improvement of clinical signs and symptoms in KCS. The nutraceutical diet used in this clinical evaluation consisted in a commercial mixed formula based on fish proteins, rice carbohydrates, muskmelon (Cucumis melo), large, common brown alga (Ascophyllum nodosum), Astaxanthin (keto-carotenoid antioxidant from Hematococcus pluvialis green algae), aloe vera, papaya, pomegranate, green tea, Japanese knotweed, turmeric, black pepper, zinc and an Omega3/6 ratio of 1:0.8).2

Eyes improvement after 60-days treatment with 0,03 % Tacrolimus collyrium BID and 0,2 % Hyalistil eyewash plus the nutraceutical diet
  1. Prevalence of disorders recorded in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels attending primary-care veterinary practices in England
  2. Clinical evaluation of a nutraceutical diet as an adjuvant to pharmacological treatment in dogs affected by Keratoconjunctivitis sicca Simona Destefanis, Daniela Giretto, Maria Cristina Muscolo, Alessandro Di Cerbo, Gianandrea Guidetti, Sergio Canello, Angela Giovazzino, Sara Centenaro,corresponding author and Giuseppe Terrazzano

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