What is Superficial Keratectomy?

Superficial keratectomy is a surgical produce of the eye, which is often used to treat canines with superficial corneal ulcers. In this procedure, the veterinary eye specialist will remove the cornea’s irregular layer with a tool referred to as a diamond burr, specially designed for use on the eye. Superficial keratectomy treats the whole cornea and is believed to be very beneficial as this method of ulcer treatment results in less scarring. 

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Superficial Keratectomy Procedure in Dogs

A canine superficial keratectomy can be performed on the patient under full anesthesia. The veterinary surgeon will use a sterile cotton-tipped applicator, a blade, and/or a precision rotary tool fitted with a diamond burr to debride the surface of the cornea, or remove the layer of abnormal cells. 

Efficacy of Superficial Keratectomy in Dogs

The goal the veterinary eye specialist wishes to achieve from a superficial keratectomy in a dog is to stimulate the abnormal tissue to encourage self-healing. At the same time, the surgeon will strive for a shorter healing time with a lesser chance of scarring and an alleviation of discomfort. Although superficial keratectomy is highly effective, the possibility for the ulcer to return in the same or other eye is a 50% chance. 

Superficial Keratectomy Recovery in Dogs

After a superficial keratectomy procedure, the dog will recover in roughly two to three weeks with appropriate aftercare. The canine will be required to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent manipulation of the eye and trauma. Medicated eye drops will be required and the pet owner should place these drops inside the eye as directed by the veterinary physician.  

Cost of Superficial Keratectomy in Dogs

A superficial keratectomy procedure can cost a dog owner anywhere from $200 to $2,000 dollars to have performed. Recovery bandages and other healing devices should be considered in the total price. 

Dog Superficial Keratectomy Considerations

The chance for a dog to develop complications following a superficial keratectomy surgery is less than 5%, but they do happen. Possible considerations to make when discussing superficial keratectomy as a treatment option for your dog include the following: 

  • Lens displacement
  • Tearing 
  • Inner eye bleeding
  • Ocular pain
  • Retinal detachment
  • Inner eye pressure, also known as glaucoma
  • Inflammation 
  • Rupture of the eye
  • Scarring 
  • Recurrent ulceration 
  • Infection 

Superficial Keratectomy Prevention in Dogs

The need for a superficial keratectomy procedure cannot always be prevented, as some dog breeds are anatomically prone to corneal ulcers. However, keeping the eyes of the dog clean and following up with your veterinarian when you first detect a problem, can aid in the prevention of an eye surgery.