Chronic superficial keratitis is also known as pannus and several dog breeds are prone to developing this condition including the German Shorthaired Pointer. The suffix “itis” on a word means inflammation. Pannus is an inflammation of the cornea of the eye that may be related to the dog’s very sensitive immune system, which is the physiological body system in humans and animals that helps fight off infection. The exact cause of this chronic disease is not known, but it is speculated that it could arise due to the exposure to ultraviolet light and altitude. Although the cause is still unproven, those studying its history believe that the German Shorthaired Pointer is genetically predisposed to developing pannus. As previously mentioned, it is widely believed that there is something wrong with the immune system in this breed, which leads to pannus. Most dogs that develop this condition are older dogs, but it can also occur in younger adult dogs.
Pannus is a progressive condition in which parts of the dog’s eye (the cornea, conjunctiva and third eyelid) become seriously and chronically inflamed. The condition is also painful for your pet. Things that can occur in the eye include changes in the cornea, eye pigmentation, buildup of cholesterol in the eye, development of dry eye and granulation tissue. The disease typically affects both eyes but can occur in different locations in each eye. The owner can initially observe a kind of reddish film over the eye, which spreads and affects vision. Your pet may have tears and reddened eyes. This can spread to cells that begin to cover the cornea, thicken and eventually lead to blindness if left untreated.
The chronic disease of pannus requires treatment for the rest of the German Hound’s life. Therapy usually consists of steroid drops for the eye and an ointment, but there is no real cure for this disease. Sometimes other treatments, such as steroid injections into the eye, can be used to prevent excessive corneal scarring. In some cases, a veterinarian may suggest surgery and possibly radiation therapy to preserve as much vision as possible and delay the progression of the disease as much as possible. As previously mentioned, these treatments may also be less effective if affected dogs are exposed to frequent ultraviolet light and live at high altitudes. With the right care and a watchful eye, your dog will be fine.
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