Pannus - chronic superficial keratitis - KCS
Pannus is a disease of dogs which affects mostly German Shepherds. It is also occasionally seen in Greyhounds and Border collies as well as in cross bred dogs. It is an inflammatory condition which although painless can lead to blindness. Lesions are usually first noticed in the ventro lateral area of the clear cornea into which blood vessels grow and eventually carry black pigment into the cornea. The third eyelid margins may be affected with thickening of the conjunctiva and the black area along the eyelid border loses its pigmentation making the eyes look red. Occasionally it results in dry eye with reduced tear production.

The condition is caused by hypersensitivity to UV light and is therefore more common in warmer climates and at high altitudes. It is incurable but with treatment it can usually be controlled sufficiently to prevent blindness. However treatment will be required for the life of the dog. Providing it is diagnosed early and treated correctly blindness should not occur. However, if the disease progresses to the stage where pigmentation of the cornea is widespread, vision will be reduced. In these cases it may be possible to improve vision by removing the superficial layers of the cornea which contain the pigment.

Medical treatment requires the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and or immunosuppressants. Severe cases are usually treated initially with steroid drops together with the immunosuppressant Cyclosporin. Most cases will improve quickly and can then be controlled on Cyclosporin alone with drops or ointment applied to the eyes once or twice daily. The long term use of steroid drops is not recommended due to risk of corneal ulcers occurring. Regular check ups will be required to monitor the condition in order to continue dispensing medication.