Q. Can I use any OTC liquid tears for my Shih Tzu? Vet perscibed with polyvinyl alcohol 1.4% sterile Lubrifor remainder of dogs like he is only six years
LINDSEY EDWARDS MVB, BSC, IVCA
A. Many tear replacements can be used in dogs and some last longer than others so will require much more frequent use than others so it is important to check specific types with a vet or veterinary ophthalmologist in order to get the optimum dosing schedule and best results. Given he is only 6years I would also be anxious to diagnose the underlying condition resulting in the need to medicate as some of these conditions can be treatable and indeed reversible in dogs if treated early
DR. CHRISTIE LONG, D.V.M., C.V.A.
A. You can use OTC tear replacement solutions in dogs, however they have to be dosed extremely frequently (such as every 15 to 30 minutes) because they dissipate rapidly and do not provide sufficient replacement tears for a dog that has dry eyes. Consequentially, their use is not routinely recommended in veterinary medicine - not because they are dangerous but simply because they are not effective. I agree with Dr. Edward's assessment that the underlying cause of the dry eyes needs to be determined and treated. Most of the time dogs have an autoimmune disorder called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) which reduces tear production. They need to be on an immunosuppressive eye ointment containing the drug cyclosporine to adequately treat the problem. Typically just attempting to replace the tear film isn't sufficient.