Shih Tzu Eye Care

shih tzu eye care - little shih tzu getting eye drops

Shih Tzu Eye Care Problems – Dry Eye

Are your dog’s eyes a constant mess?  Don’t feel alone. Running and tearing eyes is one of the most regular problems faced by Shih Tzu owners. That’s why Shih Tzu eye care is extremely important.

The truth is that Shih Tzu are prone to eye problems due to their protruding eyes. The amount of hair that can touch and irritate the eye does not help either.

There can be several reasons for the running eyes, but one not to ignore is Dry Eye, also known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca.

What is Dry Eye

In order to understand Dry Eye better we must first look at the function of tears.

Tears consist of oils, mucus and about 95% water. They’re important as they lubricate the eyes, contain anti-bacterial qualities, sugars, salts and oxygen that nourish the eyes.

Tears also flush away any irritants that get in the eyes like dust.

When the tear glands do not produce enough tears (actually the watery part of the tear) to lubricate the eyes you end up with Dry Eyes.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

  • A yellow/green discharge from the eyes. This happens because the oil to water ratio is too high.
  • Bacteria overgrowth as dust and other particles are not removed by the tears.
  • Irritated eyes due to the bacteria overgrowth and dust.

Causes of Dry Eye

  • The most common cause is the destruction of the tear glands due to an immune reaction. The exact reason why it happens is still unknown.
  • Infections or trauma that causes damage to the tear glands.
  • A lack of tear-producing tissue. This is normally inherited.
  • Antibiotics containing sulfa
  • Distemper infection

How do you know if your Shih Tzus Eye is Dry?

You can look at the symptoms, but the easiest and best way is to take your dog to the vet. The vet will place special paper (known as a Schirmer tear test strip) under the dog’s eyelid and leave it there for about a minute.

After one minute the vet will remove the paper and measure the wetness of the strip. If the results are well below average, your Shih Tzu may suffer from Dry Eye.

Dangers of Dry Eye

Your dog will initially suffer from chronic eye infections and frequent scarring will damage the cornea. Once corneal ulceration has developed extra care should be taken as it can lead to blindness.

What are your options if your Shih Tzu is diagnosed with this condition?

Finding the cause is not easy and you may do better to try to prevent any damage the condition can cause. However, if your vet cannot find the cause he will subscribe eye drops.

The most frequently used drops are called Cyclosporine ophthalmic ointment. The drops suppress the immune reaction that is the most frequent cause of this condition.

Surgery is also an option, although it is not frequently used. During surgery a salivary duct is transplanted into the upper eyelid area.

The result is that saliva drains into the eye providing the necessary lubrication.

Learn more about Shih Tzu eye care and Shih Tzu Health Issues

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