Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health is running a challenge over the next few months to encourage the early diagnosis of Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), a painful disease which leads to permanent blindness.

Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health is running a challenge over the next few months to encourage the early diagnosis of Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), a painful disease which leads to permanent blindness.

Stages of Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)Practices are being asked to perform a Schirmer Tear Test (STT) on 50 dogs not previously diagnosed with KCS for the chance to win one of 70 Samsung digital cameras.

Recent studies (Pierce V & Williams D, 2006) have shown the incidence of KCS to be 4.6 per cent of the UK dog population, rising to 8.3 per cent in predisposed breeds. However, 20 veterinary practices have recently participated in an early diagnosis programme (2009 study) and the number confirmed with KCS was 9.7 per cent. 17 of the cases diagnosed had Schirmer Tear Test readings of zero.

KCS is thought to be under-diagnosed because not all cases have the classic “textbook” appearance but look surprisingly normal despite severely reduced tear production. In addition, diagnosis usually requires clinical suspicion and a Schirmer Tear Test.

Claudia Hartley, European specialist in veterinary ophthalmology, believes that: “All sore eyes (except where a descemetocoele is present) should have a Schirmer Tear Test, whether or not there is corneal change.”

Melanie Dass, product manager for Optimmune, said: “The results of our early diagnosis programme made interesting reading and supported what we have always suspected – that KCS is under-diagnosed. It’s really important that dogs suffering from this disease are detected promptly as early diagnosis and treatment gives the best prognosis.”

“As part of the early diagnosis programme owners of predisposed breeds received a personalised mailing offering them a free Schirmer Tear Test and some practices also elected to test all breeds at routine consultations such as vaccination. The tests were generally performed by veterinary nurses after they had received training, with the diagnosis made by a veterinary surgeon.”

For more information about KCS, Optimmune and support in implementing an early diagnosis programme, please contact your local Intervet / Schering-Plough Animal Health Territory Manager or call 01908 685685.

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