Maryland Pet

Q & A: Dog Pannus – An Inherited Health Defect

Question: Dog Pannus (An Inherited Health Defect)

“My daughter-in-law is blind and has a seeing eye dog. The other day, I noticed her dog’s eyes looked a little filmy. Two veterinarians both agree it was pannus. They gave her drops to put in three times a day for the rest of the dog’s life.”

“Could you tell me what pannus is, is it contagious to other dogs, and is there any way to determine loss of sight, if any? Can it be operated on? The veterinarians just didn’t seem to have the answers”


Pannus is an inherited defect that can occur in any breed but is seen most often in German Shepherds and Boxers. A network of blood vessels are growing over the cornea of the dog’s eye. This will normally be followed by other membranes growing over the eyes with connective tissues growing between the corneal epithelium and the stroma.

Depending upon the age of the dog, an operation is possible. In such an operation, a small electric needle is used to remove the obstructing membranes, tissues, and blood vessels, shutting off the flow of certain vessels to the eye. The purpose of the eye drops you have been given is to prevent secondary infections from developing and to keep the eyeball moist.

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