Our new pet in the spotlight is Tiff. She is a lucky dog for many reasons. The most important reason is that she lives with her wonderful owner, Norma, who has taken every step possible to ensure she has a happy, healthy life.
Tiff came in to the hospital because her eyes were red and bothering her. After a course of topical antibiotics, her eyes worsened. When she came back for her re-check, we found that she was making hardly any tears in either of her eyes, resulting in dry eye and irritation. This condition, also called KCS or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is not uncommon in dogs. There are many reasons for a lack of tear production, but most of these dogs respond well to treatment with the topical medication cyclosporine, which stimulates tear production. Her antibiotics were continued and she was started on cyclosporine.
Unfortunately, even after two weeks of intensive medication and hospitalization, Tiff’s tear production was minimal. At this point, our only options were performing a delicate surgery called a parotid duct transposition or the surgical removal of both of her eyes. In the parotid duct transposition surgery, the surgeon dissects and moves a salivary duct from the mouth to the eye. Since saliva and tears are similar, saliva moistens the eyes. This link provides a more detailed description of the surgery. Because of the degree of technical difficulty and precision, this surgical procedure is generally done by ophthalmologists. Because the closest ophthalmologist is in Colorado, Dr. Smith offered to try this surgery on Tiff.
Although Tiff developed a deep corneal ulcer in her left eye before the surgery, Dr. Smith performed a parotid duct transposition on both eyes. Over the next couple of weeks, Tiff was intensely monitored and medicated here at the hospital and at home with Norma. Her eyes improved from the saliva moisture, but the cornea was slow to heal due to the severity of the ulcer.
We are happy to report that today Tiff is doing wonderfully. The ulcer is in the final stages of healing and her eyes are no longer dry. She eats several small meals per day to stimulate frequent moisture to the eyes. Through all stages of this process, Tiff was nothing but kind and gentle. Without the intensive care and dedication by her owner, Tiff would not have her two beautiful eyes.