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Clumber Spaniels and Dry Eye
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Clumber Spaniels and Dry Eye

Dogs
Health & Safety

Clumber Spaniels are striking looking dogs that were first bred as hunting dogs and although their ancestry remains a bit of a mystery, one man is responsible for the breed as we find it today and he was an English Duke. Today, these lovely dogs are renowned for being ultra-good around children which means they are among the best choices as family pets around. Sadly, like many other pure breeds, the Clumber Spaniel does suffer from quite a few health disorders one of which affects their eyes called Kerato Conjunctivitis Sicca otherwise more commonly known as Dry Eye.

If you are hoping to share your home with a Clumber Spaniel puppy, it's important that you contact a reputable and well-established breeder who always screens all their dogs for any hereditary health disorders and who would be only too happy to answer all and any questions you may have about a puppy's parents. If you can meet the parent dogs, all the better, but it's important to have as much information about them if you cannot.

Being aware of any health issues the breed may suffer from heightens your awareness which ultimately means conditions like dry eye are noticed that much quicker making it easier for a vet to clear up and life a lot more comfortable for your dog sooner rather than later. The condition is painful and it makes life very uncomfortable for a dog because their eyes just don't produce the much needed tears to keep things nice and moist. The result is that the cornea dries up and its surface turns murky and filled with nasty, sticky discharge.

Keeping a dog's eyes clean is crucial at this stage of the process and an eye lotion like Optrex can do the trick nicely. It's important for a dog's eyes to be kept moist even if it means creating artificial tears in order to do so. However, a vet would also need to prescribe specific anti-inflammatory eye drops to help reduce the inflammation associated with the condition. One thing worth noting is that vets think that female Clumber Spaniels are more prone to developing the condition than their male counterparts.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

There are some specific symptoms to watch out and if you notice your dog showing any of them, it's important to get them along to the vet so their eyes can be thoroughly examined. The signs there may be a problem include the following:

  • Dogs tend to blink a lot more than usual
  • Their eyes look swollen and sore, especially around the conjunctiva
  • There is a pronounced swelling on the inside of a dog's eyelids which is known as Chemosis
  • A dog's third eyelid swells up
  • A nasty discharge or even pus appears in the corner of the eye
  • If the condition is severe, a dog's cornea may become ulcerated which can lead to total blindness if left untreated

Why Clumber Spaniels are so Prone to Dry Eye

There is some evidence that Dry Eye is a congenital disorder that affects many breeds including the Clumber Spaniel, although the condition can be triggered by other medical conditions too and this includes drug toxicity.

Diagnosing the Condition

A vet would need to thoroughly examine a dog's eyes, but they would also need to have as much information about a dog's breeding as possible because this all helps establish whether a Clumber Spaniel is more at risk of having developed a hereditary eye disorder or whether their condition could be a secondary symptom of some other underlying health issue. The vet would carry out a Schirmer test which assesses whether a dog's tear production has been impacted on not. If the value is low, this is a sure sign a dog may be suffering from Dry Eye.

Treating a Clumber Spaniel for Dry Eye

Once this has been established, the vet would then need to see whether a dog's eye has been damaged in any way which they would do using a fluorescent stain. The vet may also need to take a little fluid from a dog's eye to see whether a bacterial infection has taken hold and if so, they would need to prescribe a treatment in order to clear this up as quickly as possible.

Owners would need to keep putting specific prescribed eye drops in their dog's affected eyes so that things remain nice and moist until the condition clears up. However, it's essential that a dog's eyes are kept ultra clean throughout the time they are receiving any eye drops. A vet may also prescribe some pain relief medication in the form of eye drops that will make life a lot more comfortable for a dog during the healing process.

In very severe cases, a vet might even recommend removing the parotid duct responsible for a dog developing Dry Eye, but with the advancement of veterinary medication and the non-surgical treatments now available, this surgical procedure is far less commonly carried out than it was in the past.

Living with a Clumber Spaniel with Dry Eye

Once a Clumber Spaniel has developed the condition and been successfully treated, the vet would need to keep a regular check on a dog's eyes which ideally would be anything from every 4 to 6 weeks just to make sure they are producing enough tears and that their eyes are nice and moist. Closely monitoring a dog’s eyes once they have had the condition is essential just in case the condition flares up again.

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