Understanding Your Pet's Needs
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Understanding Your Pet's Needs

After my pet had a long, drawn-out battle with cancer, I realized that I needed to do a better job with understanding my pet's needs. I wanted to be there for them no matter what, so I started focusing on my other animals. They needed more love, attention, and medical care, so I focused on those things. I started taking them in for regular checkups and working on their physical appearance. I was able to spot a few other potentially catastrophic health conditions with my animals because of my actions. This blog is all about understanding your pet's needs.


Understanding Your Pet's Needs

That Reddish Haze Over Your Dog's Eyes Could Be A Serious Threat To His Or Her Eyesight

Gisele Pereira

Have you noticed that your dog's eyesight isn't as sharp as it once was? And when you look at his or her eyes, they seem to have an opaque pinkish film on them. You think it may be cataracts, but your pup is only 4 years old. If he or she spends a lot of time in the bright sun, it could be a condition called pannus, and you need to see your veterinarian right away, as prompt treatment can help stabilize the condition and perhaps prevent future blindness.

What Is Pannus?

Pannus, also called chronic superficial keratitis and Uberreiter's disease, is a chronic inflammation of the eye's cornea. It begins as a cloudy haze over the eyeball, and over time, blood vessels and pigmented cells infiltrate the corneal tissue, causing scarring and impairing vision. It usually appears in dogs at about 4 or 5 years of age, it typically affects both eyes, and if it is left untreated, the condition will eventually cause blindness.

What Causes Pannus?

Pannus is thought to be an auto-immune disease in which the immune system overacts to ultraviolet light (sunlight), causing the blood vessels of the cornea to proliferate. However, there also is likely a genetic component because it occurs primarily in German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Greyhounds, Siberian Huskies and Border Collies. It is also more common in dogs living at higher altitudes, although the reason is not well understood.

How Is It Diagnosed?

If you suspect an eye problem, your veterinarian will look at your dog's breed, age, history, and environment. He or she will perform an eye exam to check for clouding of the eye, proliferation of blood vessels and other changes to the cornea.

How Is Pannus Treated?

Although there is no cure for pannus, there are ways to reduce the symptoms, perhaps even stop the progression of the disease. The typical treatment is to use anti-inflammatory eye drops such as corticosteroids and cyclosporine. The drops will reduce the immune system's overreaction to UV light.

Your vet at the animal hospital will recommend a regimen of daily treatment, with checkups every few months to determine the effectiveness of the medications. The treatment must be given daily for the rest of your dog's life. Even a few days without the ointment can cause the pannus to flare up. You should also prevent your dog from staying for long periods in bright sunlight. There are even dog goggles that can help shield your furry friend's eyes from UV light when he or she must be outside.