Eye medication made easy

Reading through a past issue of Dogs In Review, I found this of great interest, worth filing in an accessible place. With search capabilities, the blog is the perfect place.

Written by Debra M. Eldredge, DVM:

Anyone who has a dog with a chronic eye problem suck as dry ye (keratitis sicca), pannus or autoimmune keratitis knows double frustraion. There is the knowledge that tretment will have to coninute for the life of the dog and that is may not be very effective, in addition to the hassle of putting drops or ointment in the dog’s eye every day.

Dr. Sinisa Grozdanic, DVM, of Iowa State University, worked with Nicast, a company that makes biodegradable polymers, and came up with a possible solution. Sepcial polymers that incorporate medications into their fibers are implanted directly into a dog’s conjunctive, the vascular tissue around the eyeball, usually using sedation and a local anesthetic. The implants work 24/7 for up to a year to provide a steady and consistent dose of medication directly to the eye where it is needed.

Current implants utilize medications dexamethasone (a steroid) or tacrolimus (an immunosuppressive medication). Antibiotics are avoided, as the development of drug-resistant bacteria would be a risk. So far, all of the dogs treated with the implants by Dr. Grozdanic and his team have shown at least some improvement, some of them dramatically.

One dog treated by Dr. Grozdanic was a military explosive detection dog. This German Shepherd Dog suffered from pannus (pigmentary growth over the cornea which reduces vision). Since having an implant, this dog is back to work with improved vision. Dr. Grozdanic also expects this method to work well for Pugs with pigmentary keratitis.

The technique is currently limited to dogs with chronic conditions that require lifelong therapy and don’t respond will to topical treatments. Some dogs face the possibility of surgery to move one of their salivary ducts to the corner of the eye to provide moisture. The implant is much simpler way to treat dry eye problems. As Dr. Grozdanic ways “Every problem has a solution! You just have to work at it!: His team’s solution may make life much better for dogs with chronic eye problems and their families.

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