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Pannus in Dogs: Understanding this Canine Eye Condition

Photo of a Jack Russell Terrier looking dog with brown markings and yellow eyes being cared by a vet to detect possible pannus in dogs

Pannus in dogs, also known as chronic superficial keratitis (CSK), is an eye condition that can lead to vision impairment if left untreated. This issue happens primarily in dogs and is characterized by inflammation and progressive changes in the cornea.

Let’s delve into the various aspects of canine pannus, including possible causes, clinical signs, diagnostic tests, treatment options, and essential care. We will also explore the role of supplements in managing this eye condition.

What is Pannus in Dogs?

Pannus is an immune-mediated eye disease that affects the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye. The immune system mistakenly targets the cornea, resulting in inflammation and the formation of blood vessels and pigmentation. 

What are the Clinical Signs of Pannus?

Clinical signs of pannus in dogs include redness and blood vessel growth on the cornea, cloudiness, pigmentation, increased tear production, squinting, and light sensitivity. As the disease progresses, vision loss can occur.

What Causes Pannus in Dogs?

The exact cause of pannus is still not fully understood, but it is believed to have a genetic predisposition combined with environmental factors. It commonly occurs in certain dog breeds, including German Shepherds, Border Collies, and Greyhounds. Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure and autoimmune responses are also thought to play a role in triggering the condition.

What are the Diagnostic Tests?

To diagnose pannus, a veterinarian will perform a thorough eye examination, including visually inspecting the cornea and measuring tear production. Additional tests, such as corneal staining, tissue biopsy, and blood tests, may be conducted to rule out other potential causes and assess the extent of the disease.

What are the Treatment Options for Pannus?

Photo of a dog wearing UV protection goggles to represent possible ways to care for pannus in dogs.

The primary goal of pannus treatment is to control inflammation, prevent further corneal damage, and preserve vision. Treatment options for dogs may include topical corticosteroids, immunomodulatory drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and occasionally surgical intervention in severe cases.

How Can I Take Care of a Dog with Pannus?

Providing proper care for a dog with pannus is essential to manage the condition effectively. Avoiding excessive UV light exposure by limiting outdoor activities during peak sunlight hours and using protective eyewear can help reduce the progression of pannus. Regular veterinary check-ups and adherence to prescribed medication regimens are crucial.