A dog who was struggling to see due to a painful eye condition has had his life transformed by a remarkable procedure which re-routes saliva to his eyes whenever he thinks about food.



Ben, a six-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was referred to Veterinary Vision, in Penrith, with a case of severe dry-eye, a condition that stops dogs producing tears and causes dry, painful eyes.

Ben wasn’t responding to medication so Chris Dixon, an accredited advanced practitioner in veterinary ophthalmology, carried out a procedure called a bilateral parotid duct transposition (PDT), to re-route some of his saliva onto his eyes.

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.

Chris 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.”

Postcard eye thorn WEB


Postcard post op WEB


Ben’s owner Christine Rate, from Lytham St Annes, 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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