Corneal Diseases In Dogs

Corneal Diseases in dogs

Corneal diseases or corneal dystrophies are inherited progressions and affects both the eyes in the same ways. The cornea is the outer layer of the eyes. This condition does not have a relationship with other diseases and is quite common in dogs. There are three kinds of corneal dystrophies. These are corneal epithelial dystrophy, endothelial corneal dystrophy, and corneal stromal dystrophy.

Sign, and Types

Corneal epithelial dystrophy

1.Probable corneal spasms

2.Abnormal vision

3.White or circular rings in the cornea

4.Will show results in six months to six years

5.Progression is very slow

6.Shetland sheepdogs are at higher risks

Corneal stromal dystrophy

1.Vision can reduce to diffuse opacity

2.The opacities are oval or circular

3.Annularly shaped opacity

4.Often seen in young dogs

Some breeds that are at higher risks to epithelial and stromal dystrophies are:

1.Afghan hound

2.Airedale terrier

3.Alaskan malamute

4.American cocker spaniel


6.Bearded Collie

7.Bichon Frise

8.Cavalier King Charles spaniel

9.German shepherd

10.Lhasa apso


12.Miniature pinscher

13.Rough collie

14.Siberian husky


Endothelial corneal dystrophy

1.Swelling of the cornea with fluid blisters

2.Possible impairment of the vision

3.Middle-aged dogs are at higher risks

4.Also affects young animal

Dogs that are at higher chances of developing corneal dystrophy:

1.Boston terriers



4.May affect other breeds

Diagnosis and Tests

After visiting the vet, the doctor will perform a thorough examination of the dog. It will include things like an ophthalmic test, a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel for the dog. The owner also has to provide a thorough health history of the dog.

Something called the Slit-lamp microscopy helps in differentiating the kind of corneal dystrophy present at the moment. For this purpose, the vet will use a fluorescein stain to examine the eyes for any abrasions. Fluorescein dyes also help in the visualization of any corneal ulcer(s). A tonometer can be used to measure the internal pressure of the dog’s eyes. And to rule out any chances for glaucoma and corneal swelling.


The treatment mostly focuses on topical antibiotic medications. Stromal dystrophies generally do not require any medical interventions. Sewing contact lenses in the eyes can treat endothelial corneal dystrophy. Epithelial dystrophy can be treated by removing the tags. Another treatment for  Endothelial corneal dystrophy is a flap surgery of the conjunctiva. A corneal transplant is also an option.


The most common types of corneal dystrophies do not create blindness or any major kind of issues with the dog’s sight. Thus, a dog can live with the condition for a brief period. The discoloration may get worse with time, but won't be harmful to the dog.

In some dogs, ulcers can develop, so they will need intermittent medical treatments and drops to reduce the pain and discomfort of the eyes. If the dog gets blind in the future, the owner has to become its stick and has to make sure that the dog is well accustomed to the new life without the vision. A blind dog can still live a peaceful life “without those two stars.”

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