Our beautiful boy Truman was recently diagnosed with Pannus.
Pannus, or Chronic Superficial Karatitis, is a progressive autoimmune disease of the cornea. No one knows what causes it, but Greyhounds are among a handful of breeds that seem to have a predisposition toward Pannus. Other factors can include living at altitude in very sunny areas. Truman did spend part of his racing career in Colorado, so perhaps that was a contributing factor. However, living in the Pacific Northwest, generally considered to be the low UV light capitol of the U.S. works in our favor going forward.
Signs of Pannus include a pigment infiltrating into the cornea.
Our vet noticed the more obvious brown pigmentation on Truman’s right eye during our annual wellness exam. Truman wasn’t experiencing any obvious discomfort, but our vet wanted him to see a canine opthamolologist right away to figure out what was going on. I was aware of Pannus, and knew of a couple of Greyhounds that had it. But it certainly wasn’t on my radar as a possible cause of Truman’s eye issue. I fully expected to hear that he had simply scratched his eye playing, sniffing bushes with thorns or rubbing his head on something with a sharp edge. The diagnosis though, was Pannus. He also had some corneal ulcers, which were treated with Terramycin, a topical antibiotic. The ulcers responded well to the treatment and were completely healed in a couple of weeks.
There’s no cure for Pannus. We caught the disease early and are managing it with two topical medications to halt the progress of the disease.
Truman will be on the Optimune, a cyclosporine-based ointment for the rest of his life. He’s getting the Prednisone Acetate, a topical steroid, for two months.
UV light exposure plays a major role in Pannus. So it’s important to protect the eyes of the affected dog.
No better way to protect the eyes from dangerous UV rays than with a cool pair of shades. We got Truman a pair of Doggles at The Hip Hound on trendy 23rd Avenue in Portland. Trying on fashionable eyewear is exhausting work. A disco nap was in order after an afternoon of shopping.
Tru doesn’t exactly love his new sunglasses, but he tolerates them…and he sure does look supercool wearing them.
Truman has suffered no visual impairment from Pannus. The month-long therapy has reversed a lot of the blood-vessel in-growth, so we are cautiously optimistic that we have this under control and that our sweet boy has a long life ahead of him as a well- sighted sighthound!