Pigmentary Keratitis: Brown Spot on Dog’s Eye (Symptoms and Treatment)

There can be numerous problems your dog may be facing every day, and you need to consider these things carefully and help your dog recover as soon as possible.

Many problems in your dogs are such that they require immediate medical help, and if you don’t take care of these problems at an early stage, it will be trouble for both you and your dog. The best thing is to seek immediate treatment for the problem by finding its root cause.

Here we will discuss the Brown spot on dog eye or Pigmentary Keratitis. Look into the article, and you will find much more information about pigmentary Keratitis, like the symptoms, treatment, etc.

What is Pigmentary Keratitis?

What is Pigmentary Keratitis?

Pigmentary Keratitis is also very commonly referred to as corneal melanosis. You will find light brown to black pigmentation covering the part of the dog’s cornea, or it may cover the whole of the dog’s cornea, which is the clear covering at the front of the dog’s eye.

Pigmentary Keratitis results from repeated inflammation, irritation, or infection. It is generally prevalent in pushed-in-nose breed dogs like Boxers or Pugs. This is due to their facial characteristics that commonly result in protruding eyes and wide eyelid openings in dogs that seem more exposed. Thus the dog is more prone to injury, inflammation, and infections.

There is no proper treatment for this problem in your dog except to treat the cause of infection, but you can help your dog to recover quickly with treatment by proper veterinarian care.

If the underlying cause of the disease is left untreated, then Pigmentary Keratitis can often lead to temporary or permanent blindness in dogs, and that is surely what you do not want.

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What Are The Causes of Pigmentary Keratitis in Dogs?

What Are The Causes of Pigmentary Keratitis in Dogs?

The main causes of pigmentary Keratitis can be chronic inflammation or irritation of the dog’s eyes. Due to this chronic inflammation, there are high chances that melanin granules can be deposited in the deep layer of the cornea, further troubling your dog.

The common causes of eye inflammation that can easily cause Pigmentary Keratitis in dogs include diseases of the eyelids, such as ectropion and entropion, tumors of the eyelids, abnormal eyelashes, etc. Any of these problems with your dog’s eye can cause chronic trauma to the eye.

Pigmentary Keratitis is common in dogs with dry eye problems or keratoconjunctivitis. As in such patients, poor or improper production over the years can lead to chronic inflammation of the dog’s eye, which can further cause trouble for your dog.

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You will notice that some dogs have a history of chronic ulcers or repeated corneal ulcers, possibly due to many causes or a previous history of corneal surgeries.

In some cases, you may be unable to find the underlying cause of this condition. In contrast, in others, you will not be able to treat your dog even after identifying the underlying cause, and the pigmentation in your dog continues. These factors mean that genetic factors cause this condition in your dog.

Pigmentary Keratitis is the direct result of repeated inflammation and irritation, and the reasons can be structural, environmental, or other infectious conditions. The pigmentation is formed when the chronic inflammation further prompts the collection of melanin granules embedded in the cornea’s innermost layer and darkens it.

You can most commonly notice such a condition in the eyes of dogs like Pugs, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, boxers, etc.

The inflammation that causes Pigmentary Keratitis can have many reasons for it. These reasons include:

  • Genetics
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Abnormal eye reflexes
  • Abnormal eyelash position
  • Ectropion
  • Eyelid tumors
  • Traumatic injury
  • Glaucoma
  • Auto-immune diseases
  • Fungal or bacterial growth
  • Traumatic eye injury
  • Chronic ulcers

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What is The Diagnosis of Pigmentary Keratitis in Dogs?

Sometimes pet parents notice their dog having a discoloration in their eye and then take him to the vet; other times, there can be no other particular signs of your dog having this problem.

Your veterinarian can examine your dog’s behavior during a regular physical examination by using a source of light on your dog’s cornea. For example, to access the cornea of your dog’s eye and see if your dog is having any other eye issues.

Once your dog’s vet diagnoses pigmentary Keratitis, the search and treatment for the underlying cause starts by them to help your dog recover easily.

Your dog’s vet will be closely looking for abnormalities in your dog’s eyes by checking the eyelids, eye reflexes, etc.

To evaluate your dog’s tear production, the vet will perform the Schirmer Tear Test on your dog. This test will give information about the tear’s production and evaluate fluorescein stain to rule out corneal ulcers. Sometimes, the vet may refer your dog for further examination to an ophthalmologist.

Glaucoma can be tested for intraocular pressure, and in case of any infection detection, cultures may be sent to a lab for further checking.

For proper diagnosis, you must take help from the veterinarian and help the vet with information about any unusual behavior or any newly acquired habit of your dog that you have recently noticed.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Pigmentary Keratitis?

What are The Signs and Symptoms of Pigmentary Keratitis?

The most prominent symptom of pigmentary Keratitis you can notice is the deposition of pigment within the cornea of your dog’s eye.

It can appear either in one eye or in both the eyes of your dog. Also, you can see these pigments in normal light, or you have to look closely to find the pigmentation problem.

Other symptoms that you can notice due to the underlying cause can be:

  • Pain
  • Tearing and dryness of the eyes
  • Large swollen blood vessels in the conjunctiva
  • Redness of the conjunctiva
  • Eye Enlargement
  • Ropy discharge
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The appearance of these pigments can vary from faint brown speckles to dark brown patches that further obstruct your dog’s vision.

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What is The Treatment For Pigmentary Keratitis in Dogs?

For treatment of this condition, you need to visit the vet. The vet will decide the treatment for this disease by finding the underlying cause and treating it. For treatment, you can go for surgery or specific medications. It can take some time for your dog to recover, but constant treatment efforts are important.


To treat the condition of eyelid malformations in your dog like entropion and ectropion, the vet will suggest surgery.

A canthoplasty surgery is performed on your dog to remove the eyelashes growing in the wrong location or with other deformities.

Once upon a time, surgeries removed the disclosed area of the cornea, but this was more complicated as there was a high risk for infection and scarring. In addition, this procedure was not a permanent solution until and unless the underlying cause was not treated.

Moreover, opting for cryosurgery to remove the exposed area of your dog’s eye by freezing it should not be the first option, as it is not a permanent solution to the problems.


You can give your dog any medicine, but there is always the risk of side effects or allergic reactions. However, several medications effectively treat the underlying cause of Pigmentary Keratitis.

For the treatment of fungal problems, antifungal medicines can be applied to the dog’s eyes, or there can be oral intake too.

Similarly, antibacterial medications can also treat bacterial infections in your dog. The medications and treatment duration are typically approximately ten days or two weeks.

If there is a problem with glaucoma in your dog, it will cause your dog to have a bulging eye exposed to inflammation. The treatment is giving medications to your dog till the end of his life to control intraocular pressure.

If there is the presence of corneal ulcers that can help within five to seven days, then there can be topical antibiotics for treatment of this. Your dog’s vet may also apply a corneal lens to protect your dog’s cornea and alleviate pain. A corneal transplant in your dog is an option for several untreatable ulcers.

There is an injection of corticosteroids under the conjunctiva, along with steroid eye drops to treat the chronic inflammation caused due to chronic disease.

The medications used for dry eye syndrome, like artificial tears or prescription drugs, to increase the production of tears in your dog’s eyes will create a fluid-filled film on your dog’s eye that will stop it from getting irritated.

You can also give your dog tacrolimus or cyclosporine to reduce Pigmentary Keratitis or dark-colored pigments in their eyes, and it also helps to cure dry eyes.

Are There Specific Breeds That Are More likely To Develop Pigmentary Keratitis?

Are There Specific Breeds That Are More likely To Develop Pigmentary Keratitis?

Yes, certain breeds are more likely to develop pigmentary Keratitis. Certain dog breeds are more prone to pigmentary Keratitis, including brachycephalic dogs like Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus.

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Although many other dog breeds are prone to developing pigmentary Keratitis, these dogs are more likely to have this condition.

How to Get Rid of Pigmentary Keratitis in Dogs?

Pigmentary Keratitis is very harmful to dogs and can be troublesome for your dog. Chronic tropical medical therapy, corticosteroid ointments, and tear stimulators are possible treatments.

These treatments are most effective in promoting regression of medical granulation and pigmentation. In most cases, combination therapy is used twice a day, and it will slowly show its results after nearly six months.

Is Pigmentary Keratitis Painful For Dogs?

Is Pigmentary Keratitis Painful For Dogs?

Yes. If your dog is suffering from pigmentary Keratitis, it is not only a normal discoloration of your eye but also a painful condition that causes trouble for your dog.

It is painful for your dog, and treatment involves finding the inner reason for the pigmentary Keratitis and then moving forward with the treatment. The treatment may take time, and the effects will not be there for nearly six months, but regular treatment can only help your dog to recover from this disease and the pain it causes.

Does Pigmentary Keratitis Cause Blindness in Dogs?

Pigmentary Keratitis refers to a condition of discoloration and inflammation of the cornea of your dog’s eye. This condition can sometimes be noticed by owners while closely examining the dog, but a proper visit to the vet can reveal this disease, and then there is the treatment for the underlying cause that is causing this problem in your dog.

Suppose the Pigmentary Keratitis condition extends to the visual axis of your dog’s eyes. In that case, it can lead to temporary blindness or obstruction in vision, and sometimes it can even lead to permanent blindness. So, it would be best if you started taking measures to treat this condition in your dog as soon as possible.


Pigmentary Keratitis can be extremely painful for your dog’s eyes in some cases. You can see it with your naked eyes sometimes or at that time when you are closely examining your dog. However, it is mostly when you take your dog to the vet that you can get to know the real reason for this problem.

There can be surgical methods and medications to treat your dog for this, but you need to consider the vet first. Some treatments don’t immediately affect your dog, and it can take nearly six months to recover properly. Although it takes time, don’t forget to take proper care of your dog.