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What's wrong with my dog's eyes? - Pannus

by Bryce Escobar
(Cameron Park, CA, USA)

Cash's Eye Problems

Cash's Eye Problems

My dog's eyes are very red and irritated and he is having a hard time seeing. Cash is an 8 year old, male Queensland Heeler.

I have had my dog on two different types of eye drop ointment and recently been told by the last vet visit that my dog has Pannus and a staph infection on his nose (he's currently on antibiotics for the staph).

The vet told us to see an eye specialist even though he was almost positive it was pannus (a $90 visit). My dog was an inside dog until a year ago when we replaced our carpet and had a baby. Since then his eyes got really red along with his nose being scuffed up and bleeding.

I can tell he is having a hard time seeing because he keeps running into things and has a hard time finding us from a short distance at the park. Sadly he ran to a tree in the park thinking it was me.

Our first thought was that he has allergies towards grass because his eyes would really flare up after playing at the park. His eyes would also really flare up when he was under stress.

I was hoping to find out the exact issue of my dog's eyes and what medicine I can give him to get his eyes back to normal.

Comments for What's wrong with my dog's eyes? - Pannus

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Nov 25, 2009
My Online Vet Response to what's wrong with my dog's eyes
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Bryce,
Looking at the photo you sent, plus the 4 additional photos that you emailed, Cash has several problems that I can see.

I disagree with the diagnosis of a Staph infection on his nose. It looks like an autoimmune disease called Pemphigus foliaceous which is a disease that attacks the muco-cutaneous junctions of the body, specifically where skin meets mucous membranes as at the nostril area.

Both of his eyes have a slight pannus, but the big problem is uveitis and kerato-conjunctivitis sicca (commonly known as 'dry eye'). Uveitis will produce the dilated pupil, and bloody appearance to the eye, because it is also an autoimmune disease of the iris of the eye.

Dry eye is also an autoimmune disease that attacks the tear glands of the eyes. Without the continuous production of a tear film to coat the cornea, the eye begins to dry and becomes inflamed.

The secondary glands of the eyelashes, and the third eyelid try to compensate so you will see the crusty appearance lining the eyelids. Those glands do not produce the same tears as the tear gland, so it is thicker and will not protect the cornea as well. The cornea then starts to grow small capillaries across the surface in a further attempt to protect its surface.

You do need to see a veterinary ophthalmologist immediately, to start some conventional treatment to save your dog's vision. Once Cash is more 'stable', I would suggest visiting a holistic veterinarian for advice on diet, immune supplements and homeopathy to restore his health.

There was something that triggered his immune system to attack his normal tissues. I am not sure if it was due to an 'allergic' reaction to the new carpet, or to grass, or a stress due to the new baby. All of these factors need to be considered in treating Cash holistically.

Holistic treatment should also include the avoidance of vaccinations and topical flea and tick products which may be toxic.

Check our page on Your Dog's Diet, and also the page on Dog Dietary Supplements.

(recommendations continued below)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person."

Nov 25, 2009
My Online Vet Response (continued)
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

(continued from above)

For Cash, I would avoid dry foods, and feed a combination of exclusively canned and raw dog food. He especially needs to have Omega 3 fatty acids in his diet, plus Vitamin C. Include a lot of carrots, yams and squash in his diet for Vitamin A. Mega C powder from Orthomolecular Specialities is a great multi-vitamin/mineral supplement.

Apply 3-5 drops of Olive oil and into each eye 6 times daily. Both will provide moisture to his eyes and the cod liver oil is high in vitamin A. Also apply both to his nose area.

And make an appointment to see a veterinary ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person."

Related Pages:
- Dog Eye Problems,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Eye Problems Section

Dec 04, 2009
Vet Visit
by: Bryce

Well, I took my dog to an eye specialist yesterday and he said it is definitely pannus. In fact he said it's the worst case of pannus he's ever seen. The good news is my dog has a chance of getting his sight back! Right now he is blind in his left eye and can only see a little out of the corner of his right eye. We have to give Cash drops 4 times a day of the steroid ointment, which I can already see an improvement in his eye. Luckly the drops soothe Cash's eye to make it easier to work with. The vet said Cash's eye problem is genetic and has nothing to do with his diet.

Dec 05, 2009
Online Response to what's wrong with my dog's eyes
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Bryce,
That is wonderful that you were able to get Cash treated by an ophthalmologist, and that there is a chance his vision will be restored. I am curious about the ophthalmologist's response that it was a genetic problem. Did he also comment on the problem with his nose?

And if it is genetic, then good nutrition is certainly important to help whatever genetic deficiencies Cash has that contributed to eye, and nose problems.

It will certainly not hurt Cash to improve his nutrition.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Aug 27, 2010
by: Anonymous


I just came from the vet today with my dog and the same problem. The recommended treatment to start was drops called maxidex 5 ml susp. 2 drops 4-5 times a day.

The next step is needles in the eyes. The vet is hopeful the drops may work and if so it's a lifetime treatment. He said it's a fast infection and hits hard.

My dog's eyes are almost like your dog's and it is a severe case. I don't know what I will do in the future.

He said it's like someone putting a thumbprint on your glasses and you have to look around and that it's an immune disease and their bodies are not fighting it.

Good luck with your dog.

Aug 31, 2010
by: Diana

We found that giving a homeopathic remedy quickly resolved the inflammation and infection on our dog's eyes. No drugs needed or given at anytime.
Hope this helps. Perth WA. Diana

Mar 07, 2011
pannus also
by: bodhi

Hi, I recently got a dog from the pound who is taking steroid eye drops for his eyes and was interested in finding out what the homeopathic remedy is that someone mentioned cured their dogs eyes. Thanks! What a wonderful posting! Thank all of you for your help.

I've also heard that plant sterols and sterolins are good at settling down an overactive immune response, there is a product called Only Natural Pet Immune Balance that I am going to try.

Jul 11, 2011
pannus, lupus etc
by: Anonymous

Well my dog Bodhi is completely cured and off of steroids, his nose is even growing fur and his eyes have cleared up, i took him to a great vet in longmont colorado, he gave me chinese herbs to mellow out the immune system, niacine, and a multivitamin, a salve for his nose and he recommended i feed him fresh wholesome grains, meat, oils and veggies instead of dog food...its all worked...good luck everyone!

Apr 09, 2012
Definately, nutrition is a factor
by: Pam


While Pannus is considered to be a genetic autoimmune disease, nutrition is definately a factor. About the same time as our dog developed Pannus, we also noticed that his black nose was looking scuffed up and turning blotchy pink just like your dog's. Although our vet diagnosed the Pannus, she made no comment about his nose. We took him to a holistic vet to see if he could provide more help for the Pannus and he immediately commented that the pink nose was an indication of a nutritional problem. This was confirmed when the Chinese herbs he gave us qickly turned his nose black again. Unfornutely, the Pannus has not been so easy to treat, but we are still working on it.

Please keep in mind that many non-holistic vets have little knowledge of nutrition--just as people doctors get very little training in that area (unless they pursue it on their own) and are used to relying on pharmacueticals. While I am grateful for the care our regular vet has given my pets, the fact that she sells Veterinary Science Diet dog food in her office (as many vets do) speaks volumes about the lack of knowledge in that area.

May 08, 2015
Pannus German Shepherd
by: Anonymous

My girlie girl has pannus. Unfortunately, distemper and rabies vaccines extricated the situation. So, I feed her Sojo (dehydrated raw) and Zignature, along with a small clove of garlic, and half a capsule of Ganoderma daily. The Pannus is NOT spreading. I refuse to treat her with cortisone, because she tends to be hyper around other dogs. I got my baby girl off of Craiglist in Phoenix, where vey few dogs are neutered or spay. I am giving her a forever home. She has an autoimmune disorder and I am trying to take care of it without using cortisone. She also wears Doggles to protect her eyes from UV rays. She is a happy dog!!!!! I would love to be able to get rid of the Pannus, but I am afraid that is not going to happen.

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