Dog’s sight saved after saliva glands redirected to eyes

A dog who was going blind has had his sight saved after vets re-routed his saliva glands to keep his eyes moist – whenever he drools.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Ben had a rare condition which meant his tear ducts didn’t work so his eyes were constantly drying up.

His owner Christine Rate, 76, from Lytham St Annes, took the six-year-old pooch to a veterinary clinic where surgeons ingeniously re-routed one of his saliva glands to his eyelids.

The operation means that whenever Ben now thinks about food or is about to eat, he literally drools from his eyes.

Veterinary Vision carried out the bilateral parotid duct transposition (PDT) procedure on Ben at their clinic in Penrith in Cumbria.

Advanced practitioner in veterinary ophthalmology Chris Dixon operated on Ben last month.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Ben had a rare condition which meant his tear ducts didn’t work so his eyes were constantly drying up
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Ben had a rare condition which meant his tear ducts didn’t work so his eyes were constantly drying up
(Image: SWNS)

He said: “Ben has been a fantastic patient and we are all pleased the operation has improved the quality of his life. He is obviously always thinking about food, because the saliva does not stop flowing.

“The parotid gland helps to produce saliva which moistens our food when we eat. PDT surgery involves moving one of the ducts that transports saliva onto the surface of the eye.

“This complex microsurgical procedure requires a general anaesthetic to carefully stitch the duct opening to the inside of the lower eyelid.

“There are multiple blood vessels and nerves that need to be avoided during the surgery and the dissolvable stitch material used is as thin as hair.

“Dry eye can be a devastating disease and PDT surgery offers hope to those when management with medicine fails.”

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Ben
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Ben
(Image: SWNS)

Ben’s saliva production now increases whenever he thinks about or smells food and allows for natural wetting of the eyes, which has significantly improved his comfort level and eyesight.

His owner Christine said: “The operation has given Ben a new lease of life, transforming him from an old man to a pup again.

“The difference, not only in the appearance of his eyes but in his behaviour, has been remarkable. He was previously bumping into things and was in a lot of pain.

“Prior to surgery, I constantly had to bathe his eyes – they were matted and gunky but now they are clear and he has regained his vision.

“Given the choice, I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

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Lancs Live – Cumbria