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Pannus in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Written by aslmad.yaz

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Pannus in dogs, also known as chronic superficial keratitis (CSK), is an autoimmune condition that affects the eyes. However, dogs living in sunny places and at high altitude also seem to suffer from it more than usual, with German Shepherds disproportionately more so.

Usually, the condition causes a pup’s eyes to become opaque. Unfortunately, chronic superficial keratitis can cause blindness if it is not treated.

If you see signs that your dog might be suffering from this condition, then you must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of pannus in dogs.

Symptoms of pannus in dogs

Pannus in dogs can result in a range of symptoms. Generally, the symptoms affect the eyes. Specifically, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Discolored cornea
  • Pink mass on the cornea
  • Fat-like growths near the cornea
  • Opaque eyes
  • Eye tissue and eye lining thickening
  • Vision problems

Causes of pannus in dogs

A German Shepherd being checked for pannus (chronic superficial keratitis).
(Photo Credit: Mordolff | Getty Images)

The cause of the condition is not totally clear. However, a number of factors seem to cause it. For example, some of those factors include:

  • Living at high altitude
  • Exposure to a lot of sun
  • Ultraviolet light
  • Smoke exposure

Additionally, some cases of chronic superficial keratitis are hereditary. For example, the following breeds seem predisposed to the condition:

Treatments for pannus in dogs

Firstly, if you think that your dog might be developing pannus, your veterinarian will want to carry out a full physical examination of your canine. Additionally, your vet will ask about your dog’s full medical history. This will include any breed-specific problems.

Secondly, your pup’s eyes will be closely examined. For instance, corneal staining can be used to figure out the extent of the problem. Additionally, your vet may refer your canine to an eye specialist to confirm the condition.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for pannus. However, topical treatments can help. For instance, steroids can suppress your pup’s immune system and lessen any symptoms.

Unfortunately, in some cases, surgery is required. For example, affected eye tissue can be frozen off (cryosurgery) or treated with radiation.

Early detection is key with chronic superficial keratitis. So keep up regular vet visits and pay special attention to any changes in your canine’s eyes.

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