Sometimes called dry eye syndrome, Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is characterized by a deficiency of aqueous tear film over the surface of the eye and in the lining of the lids. The result is severe drying and inflammation of the cornea (the transparent front part of the eye) and conjunctiva (the clear membrane that covers the sclera -- the white part of the eye).
This condition is relatively common in dogs, particularly cocker spaniels, bulldogs, West Highland white terriers, Lhasa apsos, and shih-tzus. In addition, there is some suspicion that females may be more predisposed to KCS than males.
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical and ophthalmological exam on your dog, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. A Schirmer tear test can be used to measure tear values and the amount of wetness on the eye; that is, the amount of tear production that is taking place in the tear ducts and the amount available for the eye. A low value would be indicative of keratoconjunctivitis sicca. A fluorescein stain, a non-invasive dye that shows details of the eye under blue light, can be used to examine your dog's eye for abrasions/ulcerations. Your doctor may also take a sample of the aqueous fluid for culture, in order to determine how severe bacterial growth is in the eye and whether there is an infection that is underlying the KCS.
A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells
The study of the internal structures of the body as pertaining to ionizing radiation
The outer layer of the eye that helps it to keep its round shape; the eye white.
The displacement of the eye
A type of slime that is made up of certain salts, cells, or leukocytes
Something that makes the body more susceptible to disease
Less important, below, toward the bottom or back
A passage in the body with walls
Something that is found near the ear or pertains to the ear