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Keratitis (Cloudy Eye) in Dogs


Pigmentary keratitis results when melanin pigment is deposited in the cornea. This is a separate process, but is often associated with vascular keratitis. Both conditions interfere with vision and may progress to blindness.

Vascular and pigmentary keratitis may, in some cases, be the result of a chronic corneal irritation such as that caused by entropion or lagophthalmos(inability to completely close the eyes). Removing the initiating process may reverse the keratitis.

Pannusis a specific type of nonpainful pigmentary keratitis found in German Shepherd Dogs and their crosses, and also in Belgian Tervurens, Border Collies, Greyhounds, Siberian Huskies, Australian Shepherds, and other breeds. It occurs in dogs over 2 years old. An immune-mediated disease is suspected to be the cause. Pannus may be associated with dogs who live at high altitudes, due to the decreased ozone layer. A distinguishing feature of pannus is redness and thickening of the third eyelid, but this may not always be present.

Treatment: Vascular and pigmentary keratitis that are not related to chronic eye irritation are progressive and incurable. The goal of treatment is to arrest the disease and maintain remission.

Neovascularization responds well to high-dose topical corticosteroids. These preparations must be monitored closely by your veterinarian, because prolonged use of corticosteroids in the eyes can lead to a mild form of Cushing’s syndrome and other problems. Improvement begins in two to six weeks. Treatment is life-long. Stopping the eye drops even for a short time is followed by relapse. Only a low dose may be needed for maintenance.

Ophthalmic cyclosporine instilled into the eyes twice daily may reduce the deposition of melanin pigment.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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