I have two Greyhounds. Bimbo, a female, will be three years old in March, and developed an eye problem (in the right eye, but we were told there is evidence that the left eye is affected as well) at the beginning of December last year. It is believed to be pannus, also known as Chronic Superficial Keraritis (CSK) or Uberreiter's disease.
Pannus is an inflammatory condition of the cornea, immune-mediated and characterised by an infiltration of the white blood cells into the cornea. What I was told is that, in plain language, a dog's own immune system is not recognising the cornea as its own, but as a foreign body, so it tries to 'cure' the cornea by sending defensive white cells to that area. That results in pigmentation and the extension of the blood vessels onto the cornea and the appearance of a purple/white film-like cover.
Pannus is not curable, but is treatable and is thought to be triggered by exposure to UV light or the sun glare from snow. If left untreated, pannus can cause blindness. Treatment is to be continued through the dog's lifetime.
It is believed that this is a hereditary condition and it is most commonly found in German Shepherd Dogs, but is also found in Greyhounds, Belgian Tervurens, Siberian Huskies, Australian Shepherds and Border Collies.
As you can see, I have done my research on the internet, but I would really appreciate it if any of your experts or readers can help by telling me more details about this disease.
Bimbo's therapy started with Maxitrol (Steroid) Eye Drops, which have cleared much of the purple/white film, although there is some scar tissue still there. After that, she was prescribed an Optimmune Eye Ointment (contains Ciclosporin or Cyclosporin), to be given twice daily.
She is still 'squinting' with her right eye, and I am beginning to wonder if she was correctly diagnosed in the first place. Should I insist on Veterinary Ophthalmology Referral, or am I being paranoid? Is there any alternative ways of addressing this illness, any diets or supplements to follow?
Also, I can not find much information about it affecting Greyhounds, mainly German Shepherd Dogs. I would be extremely grateful to hear from any other Greyhound owners to hear their experiences.
Bimbo is my first ever dog, and is much loved. One of the reasons I opted for the Greyhound is that I consulted your Perfect Pup section, where all the dots are white and there is no mention of any hereditary disorders, so this came as a big surprise. However, I would not change her for the world, and am very much concerned to find the best possible treatment for her.
I am very much obliged to you for your time, and hope that you will be able to help out by addressing this issue in your fantastic magazine.
Petar Matic, by email