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Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca      

 

Common names or abbreviations:

bulletKeratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)
bulletkeratitis sicca
bulletdry eye syndrome

Description or definition:

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is also called keratitis sicca or “dry eye syndrome.”  KCS is an inflammatory disease of both the conjunctiva (the pink tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and covers the front portions of the eyeball) and the cornea (the transparent outer covering of the eye) that is caused by a deficiency in tear production.

This condition causes dry patches across the corneal surface or, in more advanced cases, widespread and severe corneal drying.  In the severe cases, the dried cornea is deprived of oxygen and nutrients through the tear film and undergoes rapid destructive changes.  This can result in brown pigmentation, scarring, ulceration, and vessel growth across the surface of a normally clear window of the eye. 

KCS can be caused by hypothyroidism, infections of the lacrimal glands (such as distemper virus), reaction to sulfa drugs, removal of  prolapsed nictitans gland (cherry eye), chronic conjunctivitis, or immune mediated disease.  Congenital KCS (the dog is born with it) is rare.

Related Terms and Conditions:

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Pannus:  This is an immune-mediated disease of the cornea that resembles KCS clinically.  Pigment forming cells give the eye a gray-pink to a variegated brown and black appearance.  Frequently there will also be inflammation and reddening of the conjunctiva.  This disease is most commonly seen in GSD and GSD-cross dogs.  Unlike KCS, tear production is normal in this disease.  Without treatment, the inflammation will progress to cover the entire cornea and can lead to total blindness.  Because pannus is an autoimmune disorder, corticosteroids are used to manage this disease.
 

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Chronic immune mediated keratoconjunctivitis sicca (CIKS): This is the newer name for pannus.
 

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Xerophthalmia: Sometimes used interchangeably as a term for KCS, but usually refers to abnormal dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea due to a systemic deficiency of vitamin A

Symptoms:

Repeated squinting, discharge, cloudy eyes, eyelids sticking together.  In the later stages of the disease, brown pigmentation, scarring, ulceration, vessel growth or clouding across the normally clear surface of the eye, decreased vision or blindness.

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis is based on history, clinical signs, and a number of diagnostic procedures.   For example, the “Schirmer tear test” measures the production of liquid tears, and various stains are used to define breaks in the corneal surface and to evaluate the health of the outer layer of the cornea.

Treatment:

The goals of treatment are to restore moisture to the eye and to treat conditions such as infection or ulceration that develop because of the lack of normal tears.  A veterinarian can prescribe eye drops, such as Cyclosporine, that will increase tear secretion.  Corticosteroid eye drops and topical anti-inflammatory or anti-bacterial drugs may also be needed depending on the severity of the condition.  Some dogs recover with treatment, however, for those experiencing the condition in a more severe degree, surgery may be a possibility.  There is a procedure called “parotid duct transposition” where a salivary gland duct is moved and sutured in the conjunctival sac of the eye.  The secretion from the parotid salivary gland is watery and provides an acceptable substitute for the aqueous tears.

Links to sites about this disease:

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http://eyedvm.com/keratoconjunctivitis_sicca_.htm

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http://www.westieclubamerica.com/health/kcs.html

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http://www.eyeclinicforanimals.com/dog4.html

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http://www.dryeyeinfo.org/Dry_Eye_In_Depth.htm

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http://www.wedgewoodpharmacy.com/monographs/cyclosporine.asp

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http://www.vetinfo.com/dencyclopedia/deciks.html

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http://www.alaskanmalamute.org/jk0796.htm

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http://www.workingdogs.com/doc0087.htm

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http://petplace.netscape.com/Articles/artShow.asp?artID=217&conID=13650

This summary provided by:

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Jessica S

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Wildfire Kennel

 

Dedicated to improving the health of ISSR Shiloh Shepherds.

 


Copyright © 1998 - 2009. Shiloh Shepherd Dog™ Club of America.
All rights reserved. Revised: January 2008

The information on this website was written by ISSR breeders and other concerned individuals, however we are are NOT veterinarians. This information is being provided as a general overview, from information we were able to find about each disease through our own research. These summaries are not intended to be relied upon as medical or veterinary advice, nor do we consider ourselves experts in the veterinary field or in any of these conditions. While we do our best to provide the most up to date information, new research is constantly being done on these diseases. We recommend that you do further study and talk to your veterinarian on any topics you see here, as we cannot guarantee that the information posted here is the most current information available.  This site was originally designed and maintained by Debbie Knatz.