Canine Eye Disease
Canine Eye Disease- Pannus
Pannus is a disorder that affects the eye and will eventually lead to blindness if not managed. It is not painful in its early stages, causes no discharge from the eye and may be hard to see unless you look closely at the dogs eyes in good light.
If it is not diagnosed or treated the disease progresses, slowly covering the clear part of the eye (the cornea) until the dog can no longer see.
What does it look like?
In the beginning you may only notice that the edge of the cornea seems more coloured than before, resembling freckles near the edge of the eye. There may be a hazy greyish colour to the clear part of the eye. Generally the disease will occur in both eyes starting at about the same time but not necessarily looking the same.
The colour change to the clear part of the eye starts on the outside edges and spreads in until the entire eye surface is covered, leaving no clear window for light to enter the eye making the dog blind.
What causes it?
- Pannus is thought to be an auto-immune disease.
- The genetic predisposition to develop pannus is inherited
- Exposure to Ultra Violet (UV) light.
The exposure to UV light is thought to trigger the start of the reaction or to make the reaction worse so it is important to keep affected dogs out of bright light, especially in the summer months when the UV level is high.
Even if exposure to UV light is not the cause of the disease the rate of progression increases with exposure to high levels of UV light (sun light or reflected light from water).
Can it be treated?
Once the disease has started there is no cure that completely eliminates pannus. All treatments are directed at slowing the progression and to prevent ‘flare-ups’
Dr Tim, who has just finished a year studying for a Diploma in Animal Ophthalmology, has recently treated two dogs for pannus. The photos show both eyes before and after treatment in one of those dogs, the difference in only one week on medication is quite remarkable.
Please call Vet Cross if you have any queries regarding your dog’s eyes