Eosinophilic Keratitis

What is eosinophilic keratitis?

Eosinophilic keratitis is a unique, chronic inflammatory disease of the feline cornea. Eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, can invade the cornea causing a vascular appearing mass to arise.

What are the signs and causes of eosinophilic keratitis?

Signs of discomfort (squinting, tearing, rubbing at the face) are inconsistent. The typical appearance of eosinophilic keratitis is a white-pink plaque-like lesion that often has a gritty texture. These lesions can migrate across your pets cornea and may gradually impair vision. It is not currently known why this disease occurs, but it has been associated with Feline Herpes virus.

Whenever your pet is showing signs of a health issue, your first step is to contact your primary care veterinarian. If it is indicated that your pet may suffer from eosinophilic keratitis or other serious condition, a veterinary specialist is available at an ExpertVet certified or affiliated hospital.

How is eosinophilic keratitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis is by physical examination and cytology. A gentle scrapping of the cornea is performed to remove cells for analysis. A diagnosis can be made if eosinophils are identified under the microscope.

How is eosinophilic keratitis treated?

Treatment generally utilizes topical corticosteroids. Other options are available in certain situations. Initially, medication is given at a frequency of 3-4 times daily. After several weeks this frequency may be reduced to 1-2 times daily or even 1-2 times weekly to maintain control. It is unusual to have treatment stopped completely.

What are the side effects of treatment?

Topical and/or systemic corticosteroids usually cause the following changes: increased thirst, increased appetite, and increased urination. If your pet is allowed to overeat, then weight gain will occur. If corticosteroids are used extensively they may also cause serious changes to the adrenal gland and liver. It is very important to tell your veterinarian if your pet is receiving any corticosteroid medications (pills, shots) for allergies, skin problems, relief from flea bites etc…

What do I do if medication runs out?

Be sure to check the level of medication in each bottle on a regular basis. If you think the medication may run out before your next appointment, contact your veterinarians office.  DO NOT allow the medication to run out unless directed to do so.

Kent M. Burgesser, PhD, DVM, MS

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists

Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services