Dear Daisy Dog
I read your column about cyclosporin treatment for dry eye in cats. My Lhasa Apso did not take well to drops or ointment in the eye, so my vet found another solution.
He prescribed pilocarpine eye drops mixed in food, which has been a life saver for my dog and me. It’s inexpensive, too.
I hope pilocarpine works for cats as well.
Your veterinarian is very creative, and it sounds like your Lhasa is happy not to have his eyes treated twice daily.
My feline brother Dougie and I both have dry eye, but we like Mom to treat our eyes because we enjoy having her undivided attention.
Pilocarpine does help increase tear production in both dogs and cats, whether it is dropped in the eyes or mixed with food. In fact, Dougie’s eyes respond better to pilocarpine than the cyclosporin I use.
However, pilocarpine is not most veterinarians’ first choice for dry eye because it’s effective in only 20 percent of dogs, and it sometimes causes excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea and heart problems, especially at higher doses.
Thankfully, your Lhasa is benefitting from the medication and not experiencing any side effects. Thanks for writing to let others know about this option for treating dry eye.