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It's important to be aware that the eyes of some dogs affected by Dry Eye look surprisingly normal, despite severely reduced tear production and destruction of the tear glands. The sooner Dry Eye is diagnosed and the correct treatment started, the better the long term outlook for your dog's eyes. Dry Eye is also painful (a bit like having grit in your eyes) so prompt treatment will also improve your dog's welfare.

Predisposed Breeds

All breeds of dogs can develop Dry Eye at any age, but some are more prone to the condition. Breeds of dog particularly susceptible to Dry Eye include:

English Cocker Spaniel

This sporting dogs name “Cocker” is derived from the game bird Woodcock which it was originally used to hunt. “Spaniel” is derived from “Espagnol” and reflects the breeds Spanish ancestry.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Often referred to as the “Comforter Spaniel” due to its generous nature. The regal name was bestowed upon the breed by King Charles II due his fondness for these dogs.

West Highland White Terrier

This terrier was originally bred to hunt Otters, but now enjoys popularity as a family pet. Their thick coats often require the attention of a professional groomer throughout the year.


Now classed by the Kennel Club as a “Utility” dog, these intelligent animals originate in Tibet and were often given as gifts to Chinese Emporers.


A breed which has its heritage in China, where its founders were kept as companions and lap dogs. The Emperor Ling To liked them so much that anyone attempting to steal one of his dogs would be sentenced to death.


This short and stocky breed orginates from a mastiff like dog known as the Bullenbeisser, used for both hunting and as a guard dog. The modern day Bulldog is now popular as a family pet.

* Other breeds include the Yorkshire Terrier, Pekingese and Lhasa Apso.

Specialist ophthalmologists recommend testing susceptible breeds regularly and many owners elect to have their dog tested at routine appointments such as vaccination. This ensures they pick up Dry Eye early and can start treatment before too much tear gland tissue is destroyed.


1. Pierce V & Williams D, 2006, Determination of Schirmer Tear Test values in 1000 dogs. BSAVA Abstract 2006


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