View Full Version : Dry Eye and Curly Coat Syndrome

30th July 2012, 06:34 PM

My Husband and I have had our little Ellie for the past year and a half. After a few months of owning her we noticed her hair was dry and coarse along her spine. We were told it could be allergies, thyroid issues and etc.. We took her in for her annual shots earlier this summer and the vet noticed that she was developing pigment on the front of her eye. She tested very low for tear production and he advised us to see a specialist. That's when I started to do internet research and came across Dry Eye and Curly Coat Syndrome. We ordered the DNA test from AHT and turns out Ellie has this dreadful syndrome:(

Ellie is currently being given over the counter eye drops at least five times a day. She receives Cyclosporin eye drops every night. But as owners we don't know what else to do? We live in Idaho and can't find a vet who knows anything about this Syndrome. We have searched all over Utah and Idaho.

Please if you have any advice on how we can treat her we would really appreciate it. We have notified the breeder in Bountiful, Utah who knows absolutely nothing about Dry Eye and Curly Coat Syndrome.

Ellie does not seem to be in pain and she is just past 1 1/2 years old. The only symptoms she has is of course her dry eyes, dry hair along her spine, and patches of dry skin on the pads of her paws. She seems to be in no pain at all.

Is this a slow developing Syndrome? Are there different levels of it? I guess what we really want to know is if there is any chance Ellie can live a normal long life if given treatment?

Please if you have a dog who has this syndrome of have anything that can help us help our little Ellie we would really appreciate it!

Thank you!

30th July 2012, 09:06 PM
Most cases of curly coat syndrome seem to start at or soon after birth, so it may be that Ellie's condition is as bad as she is going to get. But her eyes will need daily care. Here is a link to a webpage where you can search for eye specialists. http://acvo.org/new/public/search/public_search_location1.asp

There is a webpage, which you probably have found already, that discusses curly coat and its treatments. http://www.cavalierhealth.org/curly_coat.htm

Apart from the eye conditions, the skin and coat -- and possibly the claws -- may need frequent attention, such as medicinal bathing, but probably would not require care by a specialist. So, I would try to get Ellie into an ophthalmologist soon for an initial consultation, and then have your local vet periodically examine Ellie and keep the eye specialist up to date on her condition.

31st July 2012, 01:30 PM
There seems to be a whole spectrum for how dogs do with this condition but it generally needs a lot of care from owners and unfortunately most often seems to get worse. We have had a couple of people with cavaliers with this condition and the dogs generally slowly got worse and eventually were euthenised when it was clear they were really struggling for quality of life. But as Rod notes, some can have a milder version and it may not worsen. I just think as with SM you do need to be aware of the realities of the condition and what indicates a worsening... but also take things day by day, love and enjoy your dog, and keep her comfortable and see how things go. She may live out a happy normal life just needing some eye care -- it is impossible for anyone to predict, not even a vet.

These conditions are tragic and can be difficult and costly for the owner. The best thing for her and for you is to be informed and aware and take steps when needed to keep her happy, and don't feel overwhelmed if you can -- with so many of these conditions the prognosis is highly variable but you do need to be aware that this is generally a serious condition and thus be ready to monitor carefully how she does.

Be sure to inform the breeder of this problem. In some places there are laws that would enable some recovery of costs. I would take the positive diagnosis and get a letter from your vet about the condition and then send by registered mail (keep the originals) to the breeder so you get confirmation that they received the documentation. A good breeder will very much want this information to remove dogs from their breeding programme and prevent other puppies from being born with it -- this is a condition that breeders can totally eradicate over time thanks to the new test you used! :) If the breeder was a puppy miller or backyard breeder or breeder who doesn;t test for such conditions (as clearly they did not in this case) then it is just so important that they know they are breeding dogs with health issues and that this has been documented. At least it might spur them to either test or stop reckless breeding but even making them aware that they have been informed legally, can help to slowly make sure this breed has some hope of a future and that people will gradually breed more responsibly.

Please stay in contact as some here will have suggestions for you and can give support.

If you search 'curly coat' on the forum here you will bring up lots of discussions over the years including some people who have had cavaliers with it, that will likely be of help. I do recalkl that often their paws get dry and painful and need intense moisturisers.

31st July 2012, 03:30 PM
I am so sorry about your girl. I live in Utah and we have some very uneducated breeders in the state. This can now be prevented by DNA testing the parents before breeding. It seems like Ellie has a milder case of Curly Coat/dry eye.

[note from admin: Website link removed. Feel free to PM contact details privately to Kendra9, thanks]

Margaret C
31st July 2012, 05:42 PM
The Companion Cavalier Club website has an article about Flossie, a cavalier born affected by DE/CC http://www.companioncavalierclub.co.uk/flossies-story/

There is also a photo of her wearing her doggles to protect her eyes.

8th August 2012, 02:54 AM
Thank you everyone for your input.

Rod, I certainly hope that Ellie has a milder case. Your response truly lightened the burden we have been carrying with us. It seems like ellie is going through the worst of it now. She shows no obvious signs that she is in pain. She only has some pigment on her eyes, squints every now and again, has rough hair along her spine and has some dry spots on her paws.

I am hoping that this is the worst it will get.

Karlin, the breeder has been notified and she also claims that Ellie's litter was her last litter so hopefully no other puppies will be "affected" by those two parents.

I appreciate the time that you all took to respond. We are continuing to give Ellie over the counter eye drops throughout the day and cyclosporine eye drops at night. We also ordered Yumega Plus oil from the UK and she is loving that every day. We also have her on melatonin and fish oil.

If anyone else has any suggestions we would very much appreciate it. We are looking to find a reputable ophthalmologist here in the state. As of right now she seems to be doing great. For more info on Ellie and some pictures here is our blog: http://alloydstory.blogspot.com/

Thanks again!

8th August 2012, 01:27 PM
Wow, Kendra9, that is one cute little girl. I checked out your blog, http://alloydstory.blogspot.com/

It looks like you don't have much of a choice in eye vets in Idaho -- only one, in Garden City near Boise.

Brian M
8th August 2012, 02:05 PM

What a beautiful little girl Ellie is ,she is blessed to have found you to take care of her .They are indeed special unique
little dogs who get a hold of your heart .

Kindest Wishes

Brian and

Poppy ,Daisy ,Rosie and Lily