What is Corneal Inflammation (Nonulcerative Keratitis) ?
The cornea of the dog’s eye is usually clear; however if corneal inflammation (non-ulcerative keratitis) occurs, there is a change in color or clarity. This is because the surface of the eye develops an irritation. Inflammation occurs, and then the eye becomes blurry. A brown coloring appears in the eye, causing the cornea to no longer be transparent; this is the eye’s way of protecting itself from any further damage. This is one of the first signs of this disorder and needs the veterinarian’s attention as soon as possible.
Non-ulcerative keratitis does not hold fluorescein dye to where any ulcers can be seen or identified by a medical professional. If there is an ulcer on the very top layer of the cornea, with typical keratitis, the dye will immediately absorb into the cornea into the layers underneath it. This will create a stain that is very short-lived and will glow under ultraviolet light so the medical professional can view any ulcerations. With non-ulcerative keratitis, the cornea is not affected so the dye will not enter and absorb under the cornea.
Non-ulcerative keratitis in dogs materializes from an inflammation of the cornea due to irritants, eye infections, or other abnormalities.
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Symptoms of Corneal Inflammation (Nonulcerative Keratitis) in Dogs
If your dog is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Within these symptoms, both eyes may be affected. Symptoms of non-ulcerative keratitis are:
- Cloudy or misty eye
- Discharge from eye
- Brownish coloration of the eye
- Eye discomfort
- Inflammation of the eye
There are several types of keratitis in addition to non-ulcerative. Once your veterinarian examines the eyes, these types of keratitis will need to be ruled out in lieu of a diagnosis of non-ulcerative keratitis. Different types of keratitis include:
- Ulcerative keratitis, or corneal ulcer
- Infectious keratitis, caused by a bacterial infection
- Chronic, superficial keratitis, or pannus
- Pigmentary keratitis, where the cornea develops a blue-like discoloration
- Vascular keratitis, where blood vessels are prevalent in the cornea
Causes of Corneal Inflammation (Nonulcerative Keratitis) in Dogs
Eye irritants or other inflammations can cause non-ulcerative keratitis, including:
- Dry-eye (lack of production of tears)
- Eye infections
- Immune-mediated response to the eye tissue
- Eyelashes rubbing the cornea
- Inability of the eyes to close when sleeping
- Anterior uveitis
Diagnosis of Corneal Inflammation (Nonulcerative Keratitis) in Dogs
The veterinarian will do a complete examination on the dog, including blood work, urinalysis, a biochemistry profile, and any other examinations that he feels will determine any possible underlying conditions. He will also ask questions to come to a conclusion as to what underlying disorders could have caused the condition.
The veterinarian will test the eye fluid, and may even biopsy the cornea if he sees any nodules. Once the cells are cultured, the veterinarian will come to a diagnosis. An ophthalmoscope will also be used to see if any outside irritants damaged the eye. He also may measure the amount of any fluid in the eye, called tear fluid.
Treatment of Corneal Inflammation (Nonulcerative Keratitis) in Dogs
The veterinarian will need to treat the underlying reason that caused the inflammation in the first place. Treatment methods include:
If the non-ulcerative keratitis was caused by an eye infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to help the eye heal properly.
Topical ointments may need to be prescribed if the eye has severe inflammation. There are several different steroid ointments available for this condition, and your veterinarian will prescribe the type that he feels is appropriate for your dog’s condition.
Medications such as cyclosporine can switch off the immune response of the body if there is a disorder of the eyes’ tear duct glands. These medications are costly and are only used if dry-eye is the cause for the non-ulcerative keratitis.
Recovery of Corneal Inflammation (Nonulcerative Keratitis) in Dogs
With non-ulcerative keratitis, your loved one will need to have lifelong treatment, as it needs to be controlled. Regular veterinary visits are needed to ensure your dog is continuing to be in remission after any treatment. Protection from ultraviolet light from the sun and other sources may be needed in the form of tinted goggles to protect the eyes from sensitivity.
Your dog will continue to live a healthy life after treatment, but will need to be monitored. In cases of any vision loss or blindness, your veterinarian will assist you with any questions or concerns. He will also give you specific instructions on after-care if he had to have any type of surgical interventions. Even after surgery, your dog may need to have treatments, depending on the veterinarian.
Corneal Inflammation (Nonulcerative Keratitis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog developed a small bubble on the outside of her cornea. It resembles a contact lens attempted for removal but since it wasnt able now rests on top of her eyeball.
She doesn't appear to be in pain and doesn't have a loss of appetite. She uses the bathroom, eats, and even plays regularly. No discharge, redness, or swelling. She's had this for months but it seems to have gotten larger across the eye. There's also a smaller bubble on the other eye.
She is a very small. I was told she is part chihuahua part terrier? Weighs 3-5 lbs.
What can this be?? Please help!
A bubble on the eye may be due to an ulcer, these can be quite severe if not treated promptly. It would be best to see your Veterinarian for a fluorescein test and general eye exam as I am unable to diagnose the condition without examining it. Especially now as it is getting larger, it would be best to visit your Veterinarian without delay. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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