Is it urgent that we seek an ophthalmologist after my dog was diagnosed with keratitis even though it doesn’t seem to bother her?

Original Question: My 3-year-old Zuchon (Bichon/Shih Tzu) was diagnosed with cataracts in one eye. The vet prescribed Ketorolac drops and said to make an appointment with a doggie ophthalmologist. It doesn't seem to affect her vision or bothering her at all and she’s so young. Do I need to rush to see the ophthalmologist or can I wait until it’s a little worse? - Sarah

Is it urgent that we seek an ophthalmologist after my dog was diagnosed with keratitis even though it doesn’t seem to bother her? Jun 26, 2017

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for your question.

There is a little bit of confusion in your question. Cataracts occur in the lens of the eye, which is inside of the actual eyeball. The medication you mentioned is to reduce inflammation in the outer layers of the eye so it does not treat cataracts. There may have been a bit of a miscommunication with your veterinarian. Ketorolac is a medication used to reduce inflammation on the top layer of the eye called the cornea which can often become cloudy and affect vision itself, much like a cataract can but these two conditions occur in vastly different areas of the eye.

So I am assuming that there is keratitis which means inflammation of the cornea and that’s why your veterinarian has prescribed ketorolac. The visit to an ophthalmologist is a really good idea to consider options of addressing not only this condition but also if cataracts are actually present or not. Keratitis can have a cause that the ophthalmologist could find and treat so that the condition does not progress and further compromise vision. Cataracts have very limited treatments. It usually consists of surgical procedures to address that situation. In all my time in practice, I rarely see pet owners perform surgery on cataracts because when pets lose their vision, believe it or not, there is very little reduction in quality of life.

I hope this helps and good luck.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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