What exactly is dry eye ?
Dry eye (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca if you are being fancy or KCS for short), is where a pet’s tear film becomes reduced or absent, usually in both eyes simultaneously. Tears are essential for keeping the eye healthy as they:
What causes dry eye in pets?
A defective tear film!
The tear film is not just made of water:
A defective tear film could be due to one (or both) of the following:
We know that eye health is important but how often do you take your pet’s eye health into account?
Eye problems are often painful and, if left untreated, may result in sight loss so understanding the symptoms and getting a vet appointment early is essential. Eye problems can also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions so the more quickly you can see your vet, the better. Hopefully this blog will help you recognise common eye problems and understand what you should do about them.
Any changes in your pet’s eyes or if one eye suddenly looks different from the other could indicate a problem.
Some specific symptoms of eye disease to look out for are:
A red eye is most commonly due to inflammation. Inflammation can occur anywhere in or around the eye. There may also be discharge, irritation and swelling present. Conjunctivitis is a common cause of a red eye in dogs and cats and can be secondary to a number of causes such as allergies, foreign bodies, tear film disorders or pathogens. Your vet will treat your pet accordingly depending on the underlying cause.
Redness may less commonly be due to engorged blood vessels (e.g. in glaucoma) or haemorrhage within the eye, either of which can be damaging to vision.
Eyes are very sensitive and can easily irritated and irritation is usually an indicator of a painful or itchy eye.
Discharge can range from watery to sticky/ thick and be a variety of colours (clear, yellow/green/brown or bloody). Normal healthy eyes should be clear and bright so if you notice any discharge you should consult your vet.
Once discharge dries it can become crusty and adhere to the eyelids which is uncomfortable for your pet and may become a site for bacterial multiplication. Ocryl is a gentle eye cleansing solution designed specifically for pets which helps to soften and remove dried on discharge and flush debris from the eye.
Dull/cloudy/change in colour
Tear stains are those reddish-brown marks that can appear on the fur around your pet’s eyes. These stains can be unsightly and noticeable, especially on pale fur. In most cases tear staining occurs when tears don’t drain properly and find their way onto the face. For these patients, tear staining is largely a cosmetic problem which can be solved with regular cleaning. Ocryl is a gentle eye cleansing solution designed specifically for pets which is also proven to combat stubborn tear stains! Further information can be found here.
Some patients with tears stains may have underlying eye problems which mean they overproduce tears due to ocular irritation. These tears can then spill over onto the face resulting in tear staining so it’s important that a vet checks your pet if they have tear stains to address anything treatable.
Loss of vision, or declining vision
Loss of vision can be sudden or gradual depending on the cause and, despite how close we are to our pets, it can sometimes go unnoticed as their other senses (such as smell and hearing) are much more heightened than ours. A blind pet often learns to compensate by using these other senses and many will continue to lead a happy life.
A common symptom of vision loss might be your pet bumping into things, often initially in dim light where vision loss is gradual. Pets learn to navigate their familiar environments instinctively so setting them a little obstacle course and calling them towards you can help you identify if their vision is poor. Another symptom of vision loss to watch out for is your pet becoming more clingy with you as they use you for comfort and guidance.
Remember- it is important to be vigilant regarding our pet’s eye health as the earlier a problem is identified the more likely it can be successfully treated. Check your pets’ eyes daily so you know what is normal for him/her and to get them used to having their eyes examined.
Should you have any concerns please seek veterinary attention immediately.
Many people will know how awful it feels to suffer with hayfever and how unbearable the spring and summer months can be. Hayfever in people is characterised by a runny nose, sneezing, itchiness – nose, throat and eyes. It can spoil your time outdoors and, if you have noticed any of these symptoms in your furry companion, then it is possible that they are suffering with hayfever too.
Is there anything I can do to help prevent my puppy from getting hayfever?
There are some breeds that are more likely to develop dog hayfever than others including:
Does my dog have hayfever?
There are many symptoms of hayfever in dogs:
What you can do to help:
This list may help you narrow down which pollen(s) your dog is allergic to:
If you believe that your pet may be suffering from hayfever, it is important to visit your vet to rule out any other potentially more serious conditions or other allergies and so that they can assess the severity, conduct tests and recommend the best course of treatment.
Don’t cry over tear stains – Ocryl is the UK’s number 1 tear stain remover.
Tear staining is simply a discolouration from excessive tears that have been left to sit on the fur. When they dry, they cause brown or reddish stains around your pet’s eyes. The discolouration is caused by the accumulation of a pigment called porphyrin which is found naturally in tears, saliva and urine.
Tear stains themselves are not harmful to your pet, however they can be indicative that there is potentially another underlying problem such as: ingrown eyelashes, poor diet, yeast infections, eye ulcers etc. It is therefore always wise to have a vet check to rule out any other health issues which could be to blame.
How to combat (and prevent) tear stains:
Are there other ways to help prevent tear stains?
Which dog breeds are more prone to tear stains?
What not to do:
Often people will share their ‘homemade remedies’ for tear staining on forums or social media. It is important to remember that this is not fact-checked and are just the opinion of the person posting. The following list are some of those we have spotted online. They cannot be used near or around the eyes, and could cause further damage and pain to your pet.
Grass Seed Season is upon us and dog owners will know that injuries caused by grass seeds are extremely common during the Spring and Summer months. Grass seeds can easily find their way into the eyelids, ears or skin (especially between the toes). The seeds themselves resemble tiny barbed arrow heads, so can easily attach to the fur and then burrow further into your pets’ skin.
How will I know if my dog might have a problem with grass seed?
Below are some of the most common signs that your pet may have been affected by a grass seed:
How can I help my dog avoid grass seed injuries?
It’s important to check and remove any grass seeds from your dog as soon as possible following a walk. If ignored they can cause a lot of pain and irritation – some can even require sedation or general anaesthesia to remove them.
What can I do if my dog gets grass seed in their eye?
Ocryl is a gentle eye cleansing solution which can be used straight from the bottle to flush debris directly from the eye (thanks to its specially shaped nozzle). If your dog likes to burrow their head in long grass, it is useful to use this as part of your daily grooming routine. This will ensure that any grass seeds, pollens (if your dog suffers from hayfever or allergies) or debris are flushed out of the eye and won’t go on to do any harm. Ocryl can also be used long term as a tear stain remover and preventative treatment.
If you think your pet may have a grass seed lodged in their eye, ear or if you think that one may have burrowed into their skin please contact your vet.