As a dog owner, seeing a brown spot on your dog’s face is something that you should pay close attention to. Sometimes, it could be due to natural pigmentation, especially if it has been there since puppyhood. However, a sudden appearance of a brown spot on a dog’s face could indicate other health issues, which require you to take the dog to a vet.
If you find a brown spot on your dog’s eye, it can be caused by a tumor, chronic inflammation, or the dog’s natural eye pigmentation. If the dog’s eye is unable to lubricate properly, there will be a chronic inflammation that causes the brown spot. The inflammation can also be caused by eyelid disease.
One of the things dog owners do not like is when their dogs behave strangely or they spot strange and weird things on their dog’s body. The reason for this fear is that it can result in the dog getting sick and, in severe cases, can cause the dog to die.
Pigmentary Keratitis, also known as corneal melanosis, refers to a condition in which a brownish discoloration appears in a dog’s cornea, often caused by frequent irritation or inflammation of a dog’s eye. This condition is common in brachycephalic dog breeds like bulldogs, pugs, and boxers.
This is due to their pushed-in face, short muzzles, and wide eyelids opening, which makes them more exposed to infections. The causes of eye inflammation or irritation in dogs could be eyelid tumors, bacterial growth, genetics, abnormal blink reflex, Glaucoma, entropion, and ectropion.
Entropion is a condition in which a dog’s eyelids are rolled inwards, while ectropion is a condition in which the eyelids are rolled outwards. However, both conditions could be responsible for eye irritation and cause severe challenges to a dog’s eye. In addition, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eyes), a condition where a dog’s eyes cannot produce enough tears, could also be responsible for eye inflammation.
However, regardless of what could be responsible for the inflammation, dog owners are expected to take their dog to a vet for a proper checkup once a brownish spot is identified on a dog’s face. Failure to get timely treatment for Pigmentary Keratitis could result in blindness for a dog.
Common symptoms of Pigmentary Keratitis in dogs include brown or dark patches on a dog’s eye, pains, ropy discharge, and swollen blood vessels or redness of the conjunctiva. So, once you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you are best advised to take it to a veterinarian.
Pigmentary Keratitis Diagnosis
As a pet owner, spotting a brownish coloration on your dog’s face or any other symptom mentioned above could prompt you to take your dog to a veterinarian for treatment. However, on some other occasions, a veterinarian could detect this condition when a dog is taken for a routine checkup.
Sometimes, the condition might not reflect too visible, so the vet could use an ophthalmoscope to inspect the eye for any issues properly. Once the vet suspects signs of Pigmentary Keratitis, other tests would be conducted to identify the cause of the inflammation or irritation.
Tonometry – eye pressure test could be conducted to know if the dog is suffering from Glaucoma. If the vet suspects the dryness of the dog’s eye, a Schirmer Tear Test will be conducted to detect the amount of tear production.
Pigmentary Keratitis Treatment
The treatment of Pigmentary Keratitis often depends on the underlying causes. So, once a veterinarian can determine the actual cause, proper treatment is administered to stop the further spread of the brownish spot on a dog’s cornea. While some causes may require medications, surgery may sometimes be required.
Medications like antibiotics, pain killers, and contact lenses could be administered if the cause of the condition is corneal ulcers. The importance of the contact lens is to help protect the cornea during treatment. The healing could take about 5 to 7 days.
However, a corneal transplant may be performed if the ulcer is serious and untreatable. Certain medications could be prescribed for keratoconjunctivitis sicca to help increase the tear production in a dog’s eye. For other causes like fungal infections, and Glaucoma, certain medications could also be prescribed for treatments.
However, surgery is the best option for treatment in cases where the underlying cause is due to entropion or ectropion. For lashes growing incorrectly, perhaps in the wrong position, a procedure called Canthoplasty would be performed for correction. So, it is best to take your dog to the vet immediately if you spot something strange on its body.
Brown Spot On Dog Eye
Aside from Pigmentary Keratitis, which is often caused by an infection or inflammation, other things like eye melanoma (ocular) and natural pigmentation could also be responsible for a brown spot on a dog’s eye. Below, we will explain more about them and how to identify them.
This type of tumor arises when melanocytes begin to grow rapidly in a dog’s eye. Melanocytes are responsible for the production of melanin and are found in all body areas. Melanin itself is a dark-brown pigment that is present in the eyes, skin, and hair. Eye melanoma in dogs could either be formed in the eye (internal portion) or the cornea limbus (outer transparent portion).
Eye melanoma is prominent in dog breeds with more skin pigmentation like Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Schnauzers. So, if you own any of these dog breeds and you notice any form of a dark spot on the cornea limbus or uvea, it could be an indication of eye melanoma.
Some of the ways you can know your dog has eye melanoma are; rounded or raised spot, the spot is located in the uvea (ciliary body, choroid, iris), or limbus, the spot has distinct borders, red eyes, large spots, the dog rubs its eyes frequently.
If your dog has brownish spots around its eyes or on the sclera of its eyes, it could be due to natural pigmentation. To be sure of natural pigmentation, the brown spots are usually flat and not raised. Natural pigmentation is more likely to manifest in dogs right from when they are young; however, it could happen to older dogs too.
Sometimes, it can manifest as a brown ring around the dog’s eye; it does not always appear as a brown spot on the eye sclera. It can even appear as a brown mark on the eye or a brown stain on the eyeball. In most cases, it is not easy to spot brown spots in a dog’s eye from appearing; they are so conspicuous.
White Part Of Dogs Eye Is Brown
If you notice that the white part of your dog’s eye is brown, it is not caused by a tumor, except an eyelash tumor, which can cause inflammation that leads to a brown spot in the white part. Natural pigmentation is the most probable cause of the white part of a dog’s eye turning brown.
Also, the whites of your dog’s eyes may have been brown since it was a puppy, and you never noticed. This is also due to natural pigmentation. Moreover, it is not uncommon for the white part of an older dog’s eye to also turn brown; it is also caused by natural pigmentation.
Your dog’s safety should be your priority; this is why it is advised not to own a pet if you are not available to care for it properly. Some things might seem minor and insignificant to you but can be dangerous for your pet. Ignoring or overlooking the brown spot in your dog’s eye can result in blindness. Be careful and take care of your dog.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.