If the eyes mirror the soul, they also mirror the state of the body's health. Corneal lipidosis consists of cholesterol deposits in your dog's eye. These deposits might or might not interfere with your dog's vision or cause pain. In canines, there are three primary causes of corneal lipidosis, so your vet must determine why these deposits formed.
Hereditary corneal dystrophy begins in one eye, but eventually affects both of them. You might notice a cloudy area in the middle of the eye. Generally, vision isn't seriously impaired. Corneal degeneration often occurs because of irritation, so it usually affects only one eye. Cholesterol and mineral deposits develop as the cornea degenerates. Older canines often suffer from a form of corneal degeneration because of other health issues common in aged dogs, such as kidney disease. Dogs with high cholesterol levels, diabetes or hypothyroidism often develop corneal lipidosis in one or both eyes.
While any dog can develop corneal lipidosis, certain breeds appear predisposed to the condition. These include the beagle, cocker spaniel, collie, Shetland sheepdog, Samoyed, Alaskan malamute, Siberian husky, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Airedale, miniature schnauzer, Weimaraner, bichon frise, whippet, mastiff, lhasa apso, miniature pinscher, Afghan hound, German shepherd and bearded collie.
Your vet will perform an examination of your dog's eyes. Also, your vet will take blood and urine samples for testing to determine if there are high cholesterol levels or certain diseases are responsible for the lipidosis. She might refer your dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist for further evaluation, especially if your dog requires surgery.
Depending on the reason for the fatty deposits, your dog might not require treatment, especially if the lipidosis doesn't affect vision. If your dog has an underlying illness responsible for the deposits, your vet will prescribe medication or recommend dietary changes for it, along with treating the eye problem. She might prescribe antibiotic eye drops for corneal ulcers or schedule a series of topical acid treatments to dissolve the deposits. Some severely affected dogs might require surgery to remove mineral and fat deposits.
By Jane Meggitt
Northwest Animal Eye Specialists: Corneal Lipidosis
petMD: Corneal Dystrophies in Dogs
Eye Care for Animals: Corneal Dystrophy
DVM 360:Canine corneal diseases: Treatment for Transparency Greater than the Federal Stimulus (Proceedings)
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.