Eye problems

Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: March 27, 2019
Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Keratitis in dogs is an ocular disorder that appears as corneal inflammation in dogs, often caused by several different things. Eyes in any animals are incredibly sensitive organs, susceptible to pathologies that will almost always require treatment. If not treated, these such pathologies can result in blindness in dogs.

Have you noticed discharge coming from your dog’s eyes? Are your dog’s eyes cloudy? There are many different types of keratitis in dogs and treatment differs for each. For more about the types, symptoms, causes and treatment of Keratitis in dogs, keep reading here.

You may also be interested in: Keratitis in Cats - Types, Symptoms, Treatment
  1. Keratitis in dogs: what is it?
  2. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca: dry eye in dogs
  3. Ulcerative keratitis in dogs
  4. Infectious keratitis in dogs
  5. Interstitial keratitis in dogs: blue eye
  6. Pigmentary keratitis in dogs

Keratitis in dogs: what is it?

Keratitis refers to an corneal inflammation in dogs. The cornea is the front, transparent and protective layer of the eye. Tears, secreted by the lachrymal glands, of which there are two in each eye, moisten the cornea and prevent it from drying out. All of this collaborates in ocular protection.

Common keratitis in dogs symptoms include:

  • Pain.
  • Leg touching and scratching.
  • Excessive tearing.
  • Photo-phobia.
  • A visible third eyelid.
  • Cloudy looking eyes.
  • Eye scratching.
  • Ocular discharge.
  • Inflamed or reddened eyes.

It’s important to know that these symptoms will always vary depending on the type of keratitis your dog is suffering from. All types of keratitis need to be treated accordingly. If not treated, it can result in partial or total blindness in the eyes. For more about eye problems in dogs, take a look at our article where we look at, ‘‘Why does my dog scratch its eyes?’’

Keep reading to find out more about the most common types of keratitis in dogs.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca: dry eye in dogs

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a type of keratitis in dogs which affects the lacrimal glands. Dry eye in dogs results in the insufficient amount of tear production in the eyes, therefore resulting in a dried out cornea. This then produces a thick, mucous or mucopurulent discharge, which can be confused with conjunctivitis. The difference between keratoconjunctivitis sicca and conjunctivitus is that with dry eye, the cornea will appear opaque and with time, can become ulcerated and result in blindness.

There are several causes when it comes to dry eye in dogs, such as immune-mediated diseases. Many dry eye in dog cases, however, are idiopathic. This means that their origin is unknown. Some breeds are more prone to dry eye in dogs than others. These such dog breeds include: bulldogs, cocker Spaniels and West Highland terriers. In addition, dry eye may appear as a result of other diseases, such as Addison’s disease or canine distemper.

Dry eye in dogs: diagnosis

To diagnose this disorder, a veterinarian will need to perform a Schirmer’s test to measure your dog’s tear volume. Treatment may include artificial tears, cyclosporine and antibiotics. In some cases, corticosteroids or surgery may be prescribed.

Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment - Keratoconjunctivitis sicca: dry eye in dogs

Ulcerative keratitis in dogs

Ulcerative keratitis in dogs is a very painful corneal inflammation in dogs that can appear as a result of complications with dry eye or corneal ulcers. Ulcerative keratitis in dogs symptoms include a cloudy, white or opaque cornea. Ulcerative keratitis in dog treatment requires drugs to reduce pain and antibiotics.

For more, we recommend taking a look at our article where we discuss cloudy eyes in dogs: causes.

Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment - Ulcerative keratitis in dogs
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Infectious keratitis in dogs

Infectious keratitis in dogs occurs when ulcerative keratitis or dry keratitis are complicated by or are interfered with bacterial infections. Infectious keratitis can be caused by: fungi, bacteria or parasites. In addition to pain, purulent discharge and eyelid inflammation occur. The difference between infectious keratitis and conjunctivitis, which also produces purulent discharge, is that keratitis also includes ocular pain.

This type of keratitis in dogs treatment, like those already mentioned, requires veterinary prescribed antibiotic treatment appropriate to the specific case. This infection can sometimes occur due to the presence of fungi, which can result in fungal keratitis. This, however, is not very common.

Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment - Infectious keratitis in dogs
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Interstitial keratitis in dogs: blue eye

Interstitial keratitis in dogs is also referred to as blue eye in dogs. This type of keratitis turns the cornea into a bluish hue. Blue eye in dogs is caused by the infectious hepatitis virus and symptoms appear about ten days after the dog has come into contact with the virus. If you notice that your dog has cloudy or bluish eyes make sure you consult your veterinarian immediately.

Although recovery from interstitial keratitis is possible, in some cases, the cloudiness of the eye may never remit.

For more we recommend taking a look at our article where we tell you everything you need to know about hepatitis in dogs.

Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment - Interstitial keratitis in dogs: blue eye
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Pigmentary keratitis in dogs

Although chronic superficial keratitis (corneal pannus) and pigmentation keratitis are different, it is common for them to occur together. Vascular keratitis occurs when blood vessels and connective tissue grow into the eye, which is known as neovascularization. This causes the cornea to lose its transparency. In pigmented keratitis in dogs the melanin pigment is deposited deep within the cornea[2].

Both types of keratitis may appear as a consequence of continued cornea irritation, such as entropion (eyelids to the inside of the eye) or lagophthalmos (complete inability to close the eyes). Once these are treated and eliminated, the keratitis has a chance of being cured.

These specific and painless type of pigment keratitis, known also as canine pannus, appear commonly in breeds such as German shepherds, Border collies or the huskies. Pigmentary keratitis in pugs is also becoming increasingly common. Although keratitis in dogs is curable, vascular and pigmentary keratitis, which are not related cornea irritation, are progressive and incurable. This means that pigmentary keratitis in dogs treatment focuses, rather, on controlling its progress. Corticosteroids and cyclosporine may be professionally administered when treating these keratitis types[1].

Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment - Pigmentary keratitis in dogs
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This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Eye problems category.

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Keratitis In Dogs - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment