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Corneal Inflammation (Nonulcerative Keratitis) in Dogs



Your dog will only need to be hospitalized if it does not respond adequately to medical therapy. Outpatient care is generally sufficient. Radiation therapy may be prescribed for long-term superficial inflammation of the cornea. Radiation therapy and cryotherapy (a freezing technique that is used for removal of diseased tissue) may also be prescribed for inflammation characterized by the presence of pigment that is deposited in the cornea.


Long-term (chronic) superficial inflammation of the cornea may require surgical removal of the surface of the cornea, but is is only done if the condition is severe; it is usually unnecessary. Even if surgery is performed, indefinite medical treatment will be required to prevent recurrence.


Inflammation that is characterized by the presence of pigment that is deposited in the cornea may also require surgical removal of the surface of the cornea, but it may be performed only after the initial underlying cause is corrected. Surgery is a last resort and is used only in severe cases in which inflammation threatens the dog's vision.


Inflammation that involves the area where the cornea and sclera come together, and that is characterized by the presence of nodules, may require surgical removal of the surface of the cornea. This is usually unnecessary and only temporarily resolves clinical signs; medical treatment will still be required.


If the diagnosis is dry eye, your veterinarian may surgically move the duct from the parotid salivary gland to the eye, in which case the saliva will then compensate for the lack of tears, providing the needed moisture. Surgery may also be necessary to partially close the eyelids.


There are medications that your veterinarian may prescribe as a part of the treatment regimen for the various forms of this condition, and to relieve discomfort.




Long-term superficial inflammation of the cornea in dogs is more likely to occur at high altitudes with intense sunlight.


Living and Management


Your veterinarian will want to conduct periodic eye examinations to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. Your doctor will set up a follow-up schedule to see your dog at one to two week intervals, gradually lengthening the interval as long as your dog remains in remission, or the clinical signs resolve. In severe cases your dog may have continued eye discomfort, some visual defects, and in some cases, may even suffer from permanent blindness.



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