You may have taken your canine in for an exam to check out why he has been blinking and squinting a lot lately and the eyes appear to be red and sore looking. A simple diagnostic test with a strip of paper placed on the dog’s cornea, called a Schirmer tear test, can reveal to your vet if there is a problem with tear production. This is referred to as dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), a possible immune-mediated condition that interferes with tear production and results in the inflammation of the cornea and surrounding tissues.
Optimmune Ointment or generic Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant drug that may be required as a long-term Rx for your dog as there is no cure for KCS, only treatment. A small ribbon of Optimmune Ointment is placed in the bottom lid of the eye(s) and as the eyes close or blink, the medication spreads over the surface. It is absorbed into the eyeball and suppresses the inflammatory response to reduce redness and swelling. This allows better tear production that will protect the eyeball as your dog blinks. KCS appears to affect certain dog breeds more than others, including Spaniels, Terriers, Samoyeds, and flat-faced breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs.
Your vet can prescribe Optimmune Ointment for treating dogs with chronic superficial keratitis (CSK). This is another autoimmune condition that usually affects both eyes and involves inflammation of the corneas, conjunctiva, and possibly the third eyelids. CSK is also believed to be an inherited condition and mostly affects breeds such as German Shepards, Huskies, and Greyhounds.
Tell your veterinarian about other medical conditions or allergies your dog has and list any current OTC and Rx meds you may be administering regularly. This can help your vet determine if Optimmune Ointment is the right medication for your canine. Ask if Cyclosporine is safe to apply if your dog is pregnant or is nursing a litter of puppies.
Your dog’s vision will be impaired after each treatment with Optimmune Ointment so be cautious about leaving him unattended outside. Do not share Optimmune Ointment with other pets and keep it out of children’s reach. Do not touch the end of the Optimmune Ointment tube to any part of your dog’s eye or eyelid as this could cause contamination.
If there are any signs of pain or distress in your pet after application of Optimmune Ointment, revisit your veterinarian for advice.