Pannus (Chronic Superficial Keratitis)

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    What Is Pannus?

    Pannus, also known as Chronic Superficial Keratitis (CSK) and German Shepherd pannus, is a nonulcerative, noninfectious, inflammatory condition of the canine cornea typically affects both eyes simultaneously. The disease is rapidly progressive and potentially blinding.

    Disease Presentation

    It begins as a red patch in the upper region of the conjunctiva that gradually spreads across the cornea. The patch is often intermixed with dark pigment. Both eyes are influenced, although the changes may be uneven.

    Occasionally pannus can affect the third eyelids. This is called atypical pannus, or plasmoma. In young German Shepherds, this condition is usually severe, while in older dogs (4 – 6 years of age) the lesions appear to progress more slowly and are less damaging. The Greyhounds tend to be affected at younger generations, usually before 2 to 3 years, but show relatively mild lesions.

    Susceptible Dog Breeds

    breeds seem to be at greater risk for pannus, which suggests hereditary factors. Ultraviolet light has been shown to aggravate the condition.


    Diagnostic tests are critical to recognize the disease and to make sure your dog is not affected with another disease like pigmentary keratitis, corneal ulcers, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or squamous cell carcinoma of the cornea or third eyelid.


    Pannus can be controlled, although not always cured. The majority of cases need life-long care. Therapies include corticosteroids and radiation. For cases that do not respond to therapies, surgical intervention by freezing, heating or cutting out the lesion is performed. Following initiation of treatment, your dog will be commonly reviewed every 2 – 4 weeks, and ultimately every 4 months for the remainder of the dog’s life.

    Video Credits: Greyt Show
    Image Credits: Clinican’s Brief


    1. Mordecai Siegal – UC Davis Book of Dogs: – The Complete Medical Reference Guide for Dogs and Puppies
    2. Nell et al. – The Effect Of Topical Pimecrolimus On Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca And Chronic Superficial Keratitis In Dogs: Results From An Exploratory Study
    3. Adam Wainwright, Conception Garcia- An Owner’s Guide to Pannus
    4. Parenti et al. – Selecting Quality Service Dogs. Part 1: Morphological and Health Considerations – APDT Chron Dog. 2015


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