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Corneal ulcers in dogs
how to recognize and how to cure them
Corneal ulcers in dogs interest the cornea, the outermost part of the eye. Its transparency is essential for proper vision. Ulcers are alterations of the integrity of the cornea, it is a very painful lesion of the eye and can be more or less deep and extended depending on the causes.
What is an ulcer?
The cornea is the outermost part of the eye and its transparency is essential for proper vision.
Ulcers are alterations of the integrity of the cornea, it is a very painful lesion of the eye and can be more or less deep and extended depending on the causes.
In order to properly intervene on a corneal ulcer, it is important, through diagnosis, to understand which is the cause .
Causes may be a trauma , secondary to eyelid defects, alterations in the tear film, contact with caustic agents, or neurotrophic alterations for loss of corneal sensitivity (CNV), the loss of the eyelid reflex (CNVII), neurological (alteration of the parasympathetic component of the facial CNVII), "the exposure" per globe enlarged (buphthalmos) or protruding (exophthalmos) present in some breeds of dogs and cats.
In particular, brachycephalic dogs are predisposed to develop: "drier" eye: The eyeball is more protruding, or enlarged and therefore more exposed to external trauma. They can often be affected by entropion, ectropion, ectopic eyelashes, which due to a defective conformation of the eyelids, constantly create damage to the cornea.
To check if you are facing an ulcer, an important and simple test to carry out is the fluorescine test: a liquid used as eye drops, which in contact with the cornea shows a particular yellowish coloration in correspondence with the lesion. Most non-infected ulcers heal by administration of antibiotic in 5-7 days.
Symptoms of corneal ulcers in dogs
the first of the symptoms is pain, which leads the dog to keep the eye closed and to rub with the paw, the pain is generally greater in the presence of an acute woundand becomes more bearable if the injury goes towards chronicization, This is because in the initial phase the ulcer affects the epithelium, the most superficial and sensitive part of the eye. The eye may also swell and/or present a diffused blue coloration.
Ulcers can also appear in the form of spots and opacifications of the cornea, that is normally invisible and transparent. In case of lesion the ulcer loses in one or more points those features and therefore becomes visible with white and opaque spots.
Types of ulcers
- Simple or superficial: when they involve only the superficial epithelium of the cornea.
- Complicated: if they also involve the stromal layer and can be a complication of a simple ulcer
that fails to heal. The evident effects on the eye are small depressions, spots or
discontinuities of the cornea.
- Collagenasics: characterized by the lysis of collagen, the main constituent of the stroma.
Collagenasic ulcers can lead to corneal perforation, due to the digestion of collagen by
enzymes present in the tears and freed from bacteria. They may be a complication of initially uninfected corneal ulcers.
It is important to avoid the use of corticosteroids that could aggravate the situation, predisposing the eye to collagenasic infections and ulcers. It is also important to change antibiotic if the ulcer is not healing because probably the cause is elsewhere.
In regenerative medicine PRP can be an excellent ally for the treatment of corneal ulcers.Through a blood extraction it is possible to obtain a preparation rich in platelets, which favors the healing of the wound when used as eye drops on the injured part. This is because the PRP is naturally rich in growth factors. The PRP is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and allows to greatly reduce the density and extension of the scar.