UPDATE JUNE 18, 2022: Earlier this week we welcomed in precious petite 5 year old Gracie and she has since undergone her full intake vetting.
While 10.9 pound Gracie’s heart 🩺 , knees, and hips 🦴 are clear and congenitally sound, she does have some significant eye issues that have obviously been going on for quite some time without proper care. She has “dry eye” meaning she is not producing an adequate amount of tears. In fact, she isn’t producing any tears at this time. This total dryness, without proper intervention, has caused lots of secondary issues like infection, inflammation, the build up of excess pigment, and of course a lot of discomfort. We have started her on several eye medications used to treat the infection, reduce the inflammation, dissolve the pigment, provide lubrication, and stimulate her tear gland to work better to produce more tears. We are hopeful she will respond very well to her eye regimen and she will be soon be meeting with our ophthalmologist 👁
Her heartworm and tick borne illness test was negative although her fecal test was positive for hookworms 🪱 which we are treating her for. Her bloodwork was normal and so yesterday she underwent her spay and dental, where she lost a handful of bad teeth, and is now recovering well ❤️🩹 Today she will head to her foster home in Huntsville, Alabama to get settled in, and we will be sure to keep you posted on how this sweet little girl is doing 💜
UPDATE JUNE 21, 2022: Little miss priss Gracie is recovering well from her spay and dental which she underwent on Friday and has made herself right at home in her foster home in Huntsville, Alabama 🏡 Her ophthalmology consultation is scheduled for July 11th. We’ve already gotten her started on quite a few eye medications to address her ‘dry eye’ with secondary infection and pigmentary keratitis so we are hopeful to see a good bit of improvement by that time 💕
UPDATE JULY 11, 2022: Today, sweet little Gracie met with our ophthalmologist regarding her keratoconjunctivitis, also known as “dry eye”. Because Gracie’s dry eyes went neglected and without intervention in the puppy mill for so many years, she has developed secondary issues on top of the primary dryness. She has developed secondary infection, inflammation, and corneal scarring and pigmentation which leads to vision loss and certainly a great deal of discomfort. Additionally, because she was denied any medical intervention, the tear gland, which is suppose to be producing tears, has become damaged and atrophied over time making it very difficult and sometimes impossible to stimulate to start to produce tears again.
Gracie came in with zero tear production and the first course of action is to start her on eye drop medications to treat the infection, inflammation, help reduce the pigment, and help to stimulate the tear gland to start producing some tears. For most dogs with dry eye that receive intervention, these drops are enough. Gracie, though, has been on those medications for almost a month now and unfortunately today she still produced “zeros” on her tear test.
The next course of action is to inject medication directly into the conjunctival tissue which can be much more effective than eye drops. Today, she received those injections and we hope to see some sort of favorable response when she returns to the ophthalmologist in two weeks. If there is still no improvement, we will then take the next step and Gracie will undergo a procedure where a subconjuntival medical implant is put in which we will talk more about if and when we get there.
Managing Gracie’s dry eye is very important or else the secondary changes will continue to occur and worsen, and sadly in addition to her living in much discomfort, she will continue to lose vision, and we certainly can’t let either of those things happen to a girl who just got her second chance at life! We will be sure to post an update in two weeks after her next recheck and keep you posted on how she is responding and what the next steps are 💜
UPDATE AUGUST 8, 2022: Precious Gracie (right) is having a sleepover with us here in Birmingham tonight as she goes in for an eye procedure tomorrow morning with our wonderful ophthalmologist. Gracie arrived into our care with severe dry eye and despite our best efforts and medications, Gracie is still not producing an adequate amount of tears. Therefore tomorrow we are taking the next step and she will be receiving ‘subconjunctival cyclosporine implants.’
This is a medical implant that is placed under the eyelid tissue and that emits the drug ‘cyclosporine’ over time - these implants are designed to last for 12-18 months. Cyclosporine is an immune modulating drug that is used in ophthalmology to treat immune mediated keratocunjuntivitis sicca (KCS) or better known as “dry eye” by working to increase tear production. The constant release of this drug makes it a much more effective therapy than administering daily cyclosporine eye drops. While a topical eye drop medication is only going to be therapeutically active for so long, this ongoing slow release implant allows for maintaining a therapeutic level over time.
Studies (and our experience) have shown that these implants are well tolerated and effective. And most importantly studies have found that they are effective in dogs that are responsive to cyclosporine eye drops, but also effective in dogs who were poor responders to eye drops… like Gracie. This gives us hope that this can be an effective therapy for her alongside her other eye medications that are being used to treat and mange the secondary effects of her dry eyes. This is an outpatient procedure with low down time and we hope that once the post operative inflammation goes down in a week or two that we start to see a favorable response 🙏🏻
Thank you to all of our wonderful donors that make it possible for our dogs to have these amazing medical opportunities 💕 We will certainly keep you posted on how Gracie is doing and how she is responding 💜