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DrRalston
DrRalston, Veterinarian
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Experience:  Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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Hello. I have a 10 year old Lhasa Apso. For a year I have been

Resolved Question:

Hello. I have a 10 year old Lhasa Apso. For a year I have been taking her to the vet to be treated for dry eye. 2 months ago she was referred to the Eye Vet who gave me more drops. We discussed the operation which transfers the salivary gland to her eye but he was not convinced this would work. I now put eye drops in several times a day -optixcare The eye vet prescribed this and Cyclo, medication from Spain. Nothing is working. My dog's eyes have deteriorated. She now walks very slowly as if blind. I am eager to have a second opinion as, so far, nothing is helping. If my dog is going to be blind, I would like advice on how to handle this disability. Libby Mackay
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  DrRalston replied 2 years ago.

Hello, I'm Dr Ralston, thanks for your question.

Dry or or KCS is very common in this breed. It is a lack of tear production, but it is not always apparent why this happens.

Some feel that it is possibly an autoimmune problem. That the gland is under attack from the body and so stops producing tears appropriately. Cyclosporine is the medication I think you are describing that is often used for this, but it might not be the best medication.

Recent studies have shown that another drug is more effective for treating dry eye either alone, or sometimes in combination with cyclosporine. This medication is tacrolimus. It is not over the counter, and you will have to discuss it with your Vet. I have had great success when using this mediction for treating dry eye. It is a lifelong medication but can often increase the tear production to a level where no other medications are necessary.

The surgery you speak of, the salivary gland transposition, is done in the worst case scenarios. Honestly, in the hands of a qualified ophthalmologist this proecedure can be successful. I believe that many opthalmologists do not like to do this procedure, and certainly do not prefer to do this without having first tried the other medication options. But, it can often result in a functioning eye with proper lubrication from the salivary gland to protect the eye and prevent the secondary problems of KCS like conjunctivitis, irritation, itchiness, pain, redness, and damage to the globe of the eye and cornea. One side effect of this is that there are minerals in saliva. Sometimes, they will deposit on the eye causing a pigment change. However, this is extremely minimal problem in comparison to the damage of KCS.

Dealing with a blind dog is not as bad as it sounds either. In some cases, removal of the eye is necessary. This removes the pain and discomfort. IT sounds extreme, but patients do very well. The pet just doesn't want to be in discomfort. And remember they have an amazing sense of smell. They learn to navigate and have completely normal lives.

I think I do have a link to a website that is great for learning to deal with a blind pet.

This is the link, just click here. Some good information I feel

DrRalston, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience: Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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