204 Anzac Highway,
Plympton SA 5038

SCCEDS- Even Lions Get Them

A persistent shallow, non-infected corneal erosion/ulcer with no apparent underlying cause surrounded by nonadherent or loose epithelium that fails to resolve through normal epithelial wound healing in 14 days is termed an indolent corneal epithelial erosion or spontaneous chronic corneal epithelial defect (SCCED). These erosions usually occur in middle-aged or older dogs (>7 years of age) with all breeds susceptible but some breeds more prone that others (e.g. Boxers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers).

The causes of corneal erosions and ulcers are numerous and include trauma, eyelid defects, foreign bodies, tear film deficiencies and cranial nerve disorders. Appropriate management of corneal disease includes a thorough ophthalmic examination to ensure that lid function is normal, tear function is normal (STT readings) and that no other ocular abnormalities are present which could contribute to the formation or persistence of a corneal erosion.

Diffuse staining with fluorescein, and a less intense ring of fluorescein staining surrounding the defect highlights the corneal epithelial erosion.

Indolent erosions can occur in other species including cats, horses and even lions!!! Amani, one of the lionesses at the Adelaide Zoo recently required a superficial lamellar keratectomy surgery after a SCCED and has made a full recovery!! Surgical options available for indolent erosions are based on removal of the loose epithelium and degenerate superficial corneal stroma to allow normal epithelial adherence to proceed. Options include corneal diamond burr debridement and superficial lamellar keratectomy. Corneal diamond burr debridement is a good initial choice and can be performed in general practice. It is important to note that prophylactic topical antibiotics (or systemic if topical medication is not possible such as with a lion) are indicated while a corneal erosion is present to prevent infection, but they do not actively promote healing. Grid keratotomy is a less effective option for dogs but should be avoided completely in cats due to the risk of triggering the formation of a corneal sequestrum.