When the cornea in a dog becomes cloudy, keratitis is usually to blame. Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea that results in the loss of transparency of the organ. Left untreated, keratitis usually leads to blindness.
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There are several causes of keratitis in dogs, including ulcerative keratitis, which usually stems from a bout with keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or chronic dry eye. Bacteria or fungus can also play a part in causing keratitis.
Some dog breeds that have a genetic predisposition to developing keratitis include English bulldogs, German shepherds and Shar-Peis. This is due to the tendency of bulldogs and Shar-Peis developing a condition known as entropion, where the eyelids roll into the eye, causing irritation to the cornea, and their susceptibility for developing keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
Symptoms of keratitis include cloudy to opaque corneas, pawing at the eyes, sensitivity to light, excessive tearing, squinting and discharge from the eye.
Treatment for keratitis includes instilling antibacterial or antifungal eyedrops, cyclosporine treatment for dry eye, and in some cases, high doses of corticosteriods.
Dogs with certain types of keratitis will experience progressively reduced sight until they become completely blind. Others may respond to aggressive treatments, with the disease becoming static, remaining the same or even regressing somewhat.
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