Dry Eye in Dogs and CatsWhen our pets look at us, it melts our hearts. Eyes reveal so much about how our pets feel about us and how we feel about them. It’s important to recognize when our furry companion is having eye issues. In this article, we’ll discuss a specific eye problem known as dry eye or kerato-conjunctivitis sicca. Keep reading to learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for your pet Are you concerned about your pet?Book a video consultation with an experienced veterinarian within minutes.Professional vet advice onlineLow-cost video vet consultationsOpen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Book Video Consultation What is dry eye?Dry eye, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS), is a condition in which the eye(s) does not produce enough tears to keep the eye moist. Specific glands near the eye produce tears.Tears are very important in keeping the cornea (the surface of the eye) and the conjunctiva (the thin membrane around the edge of the cornea that covers the inside of the eyelids) moist, healthy, and functioning properly. Without the necessary amount of tears, the surface of the eye and the inside of the eyelids become dry, inflamed, and painful.Can my pet develop dry eye?Dry eye is seen in both dogs and cats. It’s much more common in dogs. Some dog breeds are more susceptible, such as:Cocker SpanielWest Highland White TerrierEnglish BulldogPugLhasa ApsoShih TzuYorkiePekingeseHow will I know if my pet has dry eye?Signs your pet may have dry eye include:Eye rednessSquintingPainPawing at the eyes/rubbing the faceThick, yellow, white, or green discharge from the eyes or surrounding the eyesThe surface of the eyes may appear dullCorneal ulcers: painful open sores on the surface of the eyeCorneal scarringDecreased visionWhy do cats and dogs get dry eye?There are many causes of dry eye, including:Immune system issuesPresent from birthSide effects of certain medicationsRadiation therapyRemoval of tear-producing glands during surgery or injuryChronic conjunctivitis (cats)Chronic infection of eyelid tissues in dogs (blepharoconjunctivitis)Diseases that affect the nerves of the tear glandsAny debilitating diseaseHow will my vet know that my pet has dry eye?Your vet will ask about medical history and thoroughly examine your pet. He or she will perform a simple test, known as a Schirmer tear test, to measure tear production. Often, pets affected with dry eye willhave a bacterial eye infection as well.Treatment and Medications Used for Dry Eye in PetsOnce a diagnosis of dry eye is made, your vet will likely prescribe medication and make several recommendations to help your pet:Keep the eyes and surrounding areas free of discharge.Clean eyes before instilling medication.Monitor your pet for eye pain, as corneal ulcers are more common with dry eye.Frequent rechecks are often encouraged to ensure the medication and treatment plan are working.Read more:Top 3 Diseases of the Surface of the Eye (Cornea) in DogsGiving Your Pet Eye Medication: Step-By-Step InstructionsFirst Aid for Your Pet’s EyeNeed to speak with a veterinarian regarding your pet’s dry eye or another condition?Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.