Did you know the Shih Tzu can suffer from “dry eye” just like people can? Dry eye occurs sometimes when the glands of the eyes do not produce enough tears. The production of tears is necessary to keep the eyes lubricated and healthy. Without this natural tear production, “dry eyes” can occur in the Shih Tzu very similar to people’s dry eye conditions. Dry eye problems in the Shih Tzu can be treated successfully in most cases depending upon the cause. The condition is called “keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS for short) develops from a dysfunction or an underdevelopment of the lacrimal glands. The lacrimal glands are tissue that produces the aqueous portion of tears. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is very common in dogs. The dry eye condition is not only seen in the Shih Tzu. In fact, it is more common in English bulldogs, Cocker spaniels and pugs. The condition is extremely rare in cats.
Due to the fact that KCS can be difficult to diagnose, you probably should see a veterinarian whenever your Shih Tzu’s eyes become reddened. Reddened eyes in your Shih Tzu do not necessarily mean he or she has keratoconjuctivitis sicca. Red eyes is usually the first noticeable symptom, however, red eyes can also be a symptom of other conditions such as ulceration or glaucoma. Another symptom characteristic to KCS is sometimes a thick, ropy, green discharge.
Vets typically perform at least three procedures to diagnose eye problems. The procedures include:
When using the Schirmer tear test, if the strip stays relatively dry, KCS is the likely diagnosis.
What are the causes of KCS?
KCS can be caused by many different factors, three of the most common include:
When KCS is caused by autoimmune conditions, topically applied immune-modulating drugs can help stimulate tear production. You will need to apply tear replacement ointment several times a day to keep the Shih Tzu’s eyes lubricated.
If KCS is caused by drug side effects, such as the use of sulfa drugs, the dry eye condition may not be correctable.
If KCS is caused from a congenital defect in which the lacrimal glands do not develop fully and are smaller than normal, drugs that stimulate tear production may not help, since there is not much tissue available to stimulate. The congenital defects causing KCS is often seen in Yorkshire terriers rather than the Shih Tzu.
There is a remedy for those dogs affected by a congenital defect. In the case of the underdeveloped lacrimal glands, an effective treatment is a surgical procedure called “parotid duct transposition. ” The procedure is usually quite successful.
Do not feel in despair about “dry eye” in the Shih Tzu. It actually is more common in other breeds. If you have a Shih Tzu with the problem, treatment can be successful.
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Written by: Connie Limon Visit us at http://www.stainglassshihtzus.com and sign up for our FREE newsletters. We provide Shih Tzu puppies for pet or show at reasonable prices with health guarantee.