Cyclosporine for Dogs
If your pet is blinking excessively, has swelling around the eye, or has discharge coming from her eye, then you should take her to the veterinarian because she may be suffering from keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), or dry eye. Other signs can include a prominent third eyelid, swollen conjunctival blood vessels, and changes in the cornea.
If KCS is the diagnosis, then your veterinarian may prescribe cyclosporine to help treat the condition.
Why Cyclosporine Is Prescribed in Veterinary Medicine
Cyclosporine solution is used by veterinarians to treat animals diagnosed with keratoconjunctivitis sicca or KCS. The drug is effective because it causes increased tear production while decreasing localized inflammation in the eye and tear gland. Cyclosporine’s natural anti-inflammatory properties help it soothe inflammation of the cornea.
There is no known cure for KCS currently available. Therefore, pets that respond well to cyclosporine treatment will usually need to remain on the medication for the rest of their lives. Approximately 75% to 85% of dogs with KCS respond well to cyclosporine solution.
Other Uses for Cyclosporine in Veterinary Medicine
In addition to its use in KCS diagnoses, cyclosporine solution is also used by veterinarians to treat pannus, or chronic superficial keratitis, in German Shepherds. In fact, this is the drug of choice for treating pannus, which is an immune disorder of the cornea. Cyclosporine is not only highly effective against the disease; it also has a much lower incidence of side effects when compared to other topical corticosteroids.
Dosage and Administration of Cyclosporine
Cyclosporine is a specially compounded medication, so the medicine is custom-made for your pet according to the dosage prescribed by the veterinarian. Therefore, it is important to administer this medication exactly as your veterinarian prescribes. It is usually applied once or twice a day.
If you miss a dose of cyclosporine, give the next dose as soon as you remember or, if it is close to the next scheduled dose, return to the regular schedule. Do not administer a double dose to try and catch up.
When administering this medication, wear gloves and be careful not to touch the tube or container tip to your pet’s eye or eyelid. You also want to be mindful that you do not contaminate the medication by touching the tip with your fingers or hand. Your veterinarian will help you develop a technique for administering the solution that will be effective and minimally stressful to both you and your dog. Wash your hands thoroughly after administering this medication to your pet.
If your pet is prescribed more than one eye medication, wait at least five minutes between medications. It can take from 3 to 8 weeks before an increase in tear production is noticeable.
Special Precautions for Using Cyclosporine
Cyclosporine solution is only to be administered to the pet it is prescribed for. The medication should be kept well out of reach of children and pets.
This medication should be avoided or used with extreme caution in pets that have existing viral or fungal conditions.
Possible Side Effects of Cyclosporine
Cyclosporine is very well tolerated by animals and is not known to produce any systemic side effects. If your pet starts showing signs of an allergic reaction after this medication is applied, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Signs of an allergic reaction can include swelling, hives, itching, and difficulty breathing.
Known Drug Interactions With Cyclosporine
If your pet is taking other medications, vitamins, herbal therapies, or supplements, then you need to discuss them with your veterinarian before this medication is applied. This includes notifying your veterinarian of the drug dosages and administration schedules, to help avoid any potential risk of interaction with cyclosporine.
Proper Storage and Disposal of Cyclosporine
Cyclosporine should always be stored at a controlled room temperature away from moisture, heat, and direct sunlight. Do not store it in the freezer or the refrigerator. If your veterinarian discontinues the cyclosporine treatment, the remaining medication should be disposed of in the trash.