Corneal dystrophies are diseases of the cornea that occur in both eyes, are not related to inflammation, and are inherited.
In most cases a dystrophy appears as a gray-white crystalline or metallic opacity in the substance of the cornea. These opacities are usually oval or round. They often become progressively larger, but in some cases remain the same size. Rapid progression usually leads to blindness. Slow progression may or may not lead to blindness.
The age of onset, rate of progression, appearance, and location of the opacities and mode of inheritance vary with the breed and individual dog. In some breeds, such as the Siberian Husky, the disease is evident as early as 4 months of age. In other breeds, such as the Chihuahua, it appears as late as 13 years. In the Airedale the problem is linked to sex, with males affected and generally showing signs by 1 year of age.
The mode of inheritance has been determined for some breeds. This may make it possible to project which dogs in the pedigree are carriers.
Corneal dystrophies can be identified by veterinary eye examination.
There is no effective treatment for this condition. A corneal dystrophy that threatens eyesight can be removed surgically. This may temporarily improve vision, but the opacity will re-form.
Affected individuals should not be used for breeding.
Please contact your veterinarian if you have questions regarding this condition.
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