Degeneration of the Cornea in Dogs

Degeneration of the Cornea in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
4 Veterinary Answers
Degeneration of the Cornea in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Degeneration of the Cornea?

Degeneration of the cornea occurs as the result of lipids being deposited within the eye, due either to an inherited trait or to an underlying disease. Corneal dystrophy is generally irreversible while corneal degeneration may potentially be helped by treating the underlying condition. In both cases, the deposit does not typically cause pain but may lead to eventual blindness.

Corneal degeneration and corneal dystrophy are similar conditions in which lipids build up within the eye, leading to a white deposit in the front of the eye. The former typically occurs as the result of trauma or an underlying disease, while the latter tends to be inherited. Both conditions have the ability to affect one or both eyes and may lead to other conditions, such as ulcers or blindness.

Degeneration of the Cornea Average Cost

From 11 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Degeneration of the Cornea in Dogs

Corneal degeneration is characterized by a white, opaque deposit in the front of the dog's eye, either at the center of the eye or at the periphery. The deposit may vary in size and shape, and it may affect one or both eyes. Other possible symptoms include visual imparity or pain in the eye.

Types

Corneal degeneration and corneal dystrophy are two terms that may be used interchangeably but actually refer to two different conditions. Corneal degeneration often affects one eye and commonly occurs as the result of trauma or of another ocular disease. Corneal dystrophy has a similar appearance to corneal degeneration, but it is hereditary instead of acquired and is usually bilateral.

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Causes of Degeneration of the Cornea in Dogs

Corneal degeneration occurs when cholesterol or calcium is deposited in the cornea, resulting in a white shape in the eye. This typically is the result of trauma or chronic irritation due to a systemic or ocular disease and is commonly seen in geriatric dogs. High cholesterol, usually associated with hypothyroidism, may lead to an infiltration of the cornea.

Corneal dystrophy is an inherited disease that more often affects certain breeds, including the Shetland Sheepdog, Siberian Husky, Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, Airedale Terrier, and Boston Terrier. It is unknown how the trait is passed down though it appears to be linked to sex in the Airedale Terrier.

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Diagnosis of Degeneration of the Cornea in Dogs

The veterinarian will conduct both a thorough physical examination and a complete eye exam, the latter of which may include several tests. The Schirmer Tear Test is used to measure tear production and helps determine the amount of lubrication the corneal surface receives, while application of the fluorescent dye, fluorescein, can reveal any physical breaks in the cornea. The veterinarian may also wish to examine the eye's interior in order to confirm any underlying ocular diseases.

Because corneal degeneration is often the result of another condition, further tests may need to be conducted so that the underlying cause can be properly addressed. This may include thyroid tests in cases where cholesterol levels are elevated or tests for kidney function.

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Treatment of Degeneration of the Cornea in Dogs

Both corneal degeneration and dystrophy are not directly treated, as lipid development cannot be decreased with medication and surgery does not provide a permanent cure. If any underlying conditions are present with corneal degeneration, they will need to be addressed before any further steps are taken. Treatment of the underlying disease may result in a reduction of the lipid deposit.

Corneal dystrophy is not typically painful though it does result in discomfort or pain for certain dogs. If a dog is in pain because of the condition, or if his vision is impaired, the veterinarian will discuss possible treatment with you. Options are limited and focus more on managing symptoms than on treating the condition, as dystrophy is irreversible. Surgery may temporarily reduce the size of the deposit, and eye drops or cream may reduce tearing by keeping the cornea wet.

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Recovery of Degeneration of the Cornea in Dogs

Recovery varies depending on the condition, as well as its cause. Follow any instructions given by the veterinarian, and administer the full course of any medications that are prescribed. Monitor your dog for signs of pain, and if any additional symptoms appear, speak to the veterinarian.

The veterinarian may require follow-up examinations to check for inflammation or ulceration in the eye. If your dog is being treated for an underlying condition, reexamination may be needed to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.

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Degeneration of the Cornea Average Cost

From 11 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,200

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Degeneration of the Cornea Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Chuy

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Shih Tzu mix

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Discomfort

My dog was recently diagnosed with endothelial degeneration and has been prescribed a sodium chloride solution for both eyes, i took him to the ophthalmologist on june 16 and he isnt schedueled to see his doctor until september but i do notice that he squinting in his left eye more and more and has a clear mucoid discharge as well , any advice?

July 9, 2018

Chuy's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

June to September is a long time to wait for a recheck, and it would probably be a good idea to have Chuy seen today if he is showing signs of discomfort. He may need further medications if he is developing ulcers. Your veterinarian should be able to assess his eyes without you needing to go to a specialist, although you may end up needing to see them as well.

July 10, 2018

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Marley

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Labrador Retriever

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16 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Eye Tearing.. Mostly When Wakes Up

My 16 year old pup, MArley, had one eye removed last year, likely from Corneal degeneration which eventually turned into a detached retina.. her remaining eye was recently diagnosed with corneal degeneration ( no scratches so far) taking edta drops and eye lube.. since yesterday she has started tearing a great deal in that eye. I am making an appointment with her eye Dr.. but wondering if this can be treated.. she’s quite old, but still active and happy for her age. I am not sure she’s a candidate for removal again.. due to her age. She also has elevated kidney and liver levels( that we manage) but just looking for another opinion .. she doesn’t appear to be in pain yet.. like the last time .. but she has a high tolerance for pain too

July 8, 2018

Marley's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without looking at Marley’s eye and doing a general check with an ophthalmoscope I cannot give you any assurance that this could be treated as there are a few primary and secondary conditions which may be causing the tearing. For now continue any prescribed treatment and follow up with your Veterinarian when they open. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 9, 2018

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scooby

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Cockapoo

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blindness

My 8 year old Cockerpoo was diagnosed 3 years ago with progressive corneal atrophy.Her eyesight has gone completely.She has cater.acts on botheyes.They are unsightly.Would she recive any benefit other than cosmetic from having them removed?

June 2, 2018

scooby's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Scooby has lost her vision due to the corneal atrophy, having the cataracts removed would not serve any purpose other than esthetics. Since I cannot examine her or see what is going on with her eyes, it would be best to follow up with her veterinarian to make sure that there would not be a benefit to having them removed. There may be more information than I am aware of.

June 2, 2018

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Dexter

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Boston Terrier

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Red Eyes
Pupils Are Different Sizes

My dog had his eye scratched a couple weeks ago for a cat. I took him to the vet and we finished up the medicine that he gave. However, he still has a white mark on his eye and now one of his pupils is larger than the other. I plan on taking him back. However, what do you think the course of action will be?

July 26, 2017

Dexter's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Unequal pupil size or anisocoria may be due to the scratch, corneal ulcer, uveitis (inflammation of the iris), glaucoma, scar tissue or nerve damage. The course of action would be dependent on the underlying cause which is. The atropine would have cause the pupil to dilate, but if the treatment has finished it shouldn’t be an issue. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Tallulah

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Miniature Pinscher

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15 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Redness
Discharge
Inflammation

She has several eye conditions due to age and lipid/calcium deposits sloughing off and breaking thru cornea. March 2019 - artificial cornea implant left eye Dec. 2019 - debridement of cornea right eye Feb. 2020 - it appears she now has a small corneal ulcer right eye Cost so far - over $4k My concern is that she'll need to have corneal implant surgery in the right eye now. That's another $3k. She's in good shape physically - eats, poops, walks, not incontinent. Question: at her age - when is it not worth doing more surgery - in regards to the safety of it versus the positive outcome. And for the quality of the rest of her life. Also cost is an issue. Is it worth spending all this money for a 15 year old dog? what are the other options? letting the eye rupture? and then removing it? or both?

Degeneration of the Cornea Average Cost

From 11 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$1,200