What Medications Are Used to Treat Pannus of the Eye in Dogs?

by Dondi Ratliff
    Veterinarians often prescribe topical solutions and ointments for maintenance of pannus.

    Veterinarians often prescribe topical solutions and ointments for maintenance of pannus.

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    Pannus of the eye, also known as chronic superficial keratitis, affects a dog's cornea. Without treatment, pannus ultimately causes blindness. The condition is not totally curable; lifelong treatment is required. The most common method of care for pannus of the eye is using a combination of cyclosporine and some form of corticosteroid.

    In a majority of cases, eye pannus will require a topical cyclosporine -- an ointment or drops applied directly to the eyes. Cyclosporine, such as the popular medicine Optimmune, treat the underlying cause of the pannus: the autoimmune system's inability to halt inflammation of the cornea and, in some cases, of the third eyelid. The usual dosages for Optimmune at 1 percent or 2 percent solution is twice or four times daily. The use of Optimmune often allows the decrease in usage of the accompanying steroids.

    Topical steroids are used most frequently along with the autoimmune cyclosporine ointment at the beginning of treatment. Steroids reduce inflammation and can aid in suppressing the immune system's response, like cyclosporine. Prednisolone, cortisone and dexamethasone are three common steroids prescribed for use topically.

    In some cases of pannus of the eye, topical steroids may not be an option, or may require supplemental applications. In these cases, methylprednisolone, triamcinolone or betamethasone may be injected under the conjunctiva in addition to the topical corticosteroids.

    When pannus doesn't respond properly to the topical treatments of cyclosporine and steroids, other methods may be required. The most common is radiation therapy with beta-irradiation. Though not technically medicinal, this treatment is typically a last-case scenario.

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    About the Author

    Dondi Ratliff is a certified secondary English teacher and adjunct instructor for a junior college in Texas, where she teaches writing. Her articles cover topics ranging from science, literature and animals to online games and beyond. Ratliff holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tarleton State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Texas Woman's University.

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