Corneal Degeneration in Dogs

Overview of Canine Corneal Degeneration

Corneal lipid degeneration is the deposit of fatty material within the cornea of the dog’s eye. It is usually secondary to other ocular or systemic disorders and may be a unilateral (one-sided) or bilateral (both sides). Clinical appearance may be highly variable; lipid infiltrates are often dense white, grayish-white, or crystalline with sharply demarcated borders.

Corneal lipid degeneration is more common in dogs than cats and may affect any age or breed.

Causes of Corneal Degeneration in Dogs

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Corneal Degeneration in Dogs

Treatment of Corneal Degeneration in Dogs

There is no effective medicine available to decrease or prevent the development of lipid within the cornea, but any corneal or ocular inflammation present should be treated appropriately. Surgery is not recommended to remove the lipid because the infiltrate usually returns to the cornea after surgery.

If high cholesterol is detected, then the amount of fat in the diet is reduced. Although reduction of the high cholesterol may prevent further deposition of lipid in the cornea, it does not often clear the lipid already present in the cornea.

Thyroid hormone supplementation is started if hypothyroidism is diagnosed.

Home Care and Prevention

It is very important to follow the instructions given to you by your veterinarian. Reexamination is indicated if ocular pain or corneal ulceration develop, to monitor any ocular inflammation present, and to monitor response to therapy for hypothyroidism.

The best way to prevent corneal degeneration is to control underlying or associated diseases. It is recommended that dogs with the inherited, spontaneous corneal dystrophies not be used for breeding.

In most instances, lipid degeneration of the cornea is not painful and does not significantly decrease the dog’s vision.