Should I Worried About Brown Spot On My Dog’s Eye?

(Last Updated On: July 24, 2022)

If dogs behave in a strange manner or consume food items they shouldn’t (like Combat Roach Bait) or show obvious irregularities, it could cause anxiety for owners. It’s especially troubling when there are unusual structures on the major areas of your dog’s body, such as a brown spot in the eye of your dog.

If the spot doesn’t change in color or size, even if your pet is young, it is most more likely naturally pigmented. In addition, older dogs could naturally develop spots of pigmentation because of a mix of environmental and genetic factors.

There are several reasons for these brown spots, but generally, the cause is either pigmentary Keratitis or Ocular/eye melanoma.

The process of keratitis pigmentation involves the clustering of melanocytes. They are cells that are pigmented, giving the spot its color within the eye.

They aren’t harmful however the cause of pigmentary keratitis might need to be dealt with. It is possible to stop further pigmentation with the right treatment for the underlying cause.

Melanoma of the eye is a form of cancer within the eye. It could become malignant (meaning it could grow and spread) and benign (meaning it is only growing in the size).

Malignant tumors can be dangerous and immediate medical attention is needed. The benign tumors are usually benign, however, they may develop to the point that places pressure on tissues or organs. In this instance, medical attention may be needed.

Brown/Black Spot On Dog’s Eye: Pigmentary Keratitis or Eye Melanoma?

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To determine whether the brown spot in your dog’s eye is the result of pigmentary Keratitis or eye melanoma It is possible to check for signs of generalization like this:

Pigmentary Keratitis

– The Spot is Flat

– Located in the Sclera (White Portion of the Eye) or the Cornea (Transparent Window at the Front of the Eye)

– The Spot Roughly Stays the Same Size

Your dog is a Brachycephalic (Flat-faced) breed e.g. Pug, Bulldog

Ocular/Eye Melanoma

– The Spot is Raised or Rounded

– The Spot has Relatively Distinct Borders

– Located in the Uvea (Iris, Choroid, Ciliary Body) or Limbus

– The Spot Increases in Size

– Eye Redness

Dogs rubbing their eyes

– Dog Breeds that have Greater Coloration of the Skin e.g. Schnauzer, Golden Retriever

What is Pigmentary Keratitis?

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Pigmentary Keratitis may appear as an obliteration of dark brown on the cornea’s surface. The appearance is caused by melanosomes forming a cluster. Melanosomes are made up of melanin that creates the dark brown color you observe.

Pigmentary Keratitis is a common condition in dogs with brachycephalic traits due to the genetics of their breed and the way their faces are shaped. It is a problem for boxers, bulldogs, and pugs.

Causes of Pigmentary Keratitis

Pigmentary Keratitis is caused by a combination of genetics and inflammation in the eyes. Chronic inflammation of the eye is the most significant cause and results in melanosome accumulation in the cornea.

Eyelid disorders are a frequent cause of inflammation in the eye. Eyelid disorders include eyelid tumors, eyelashes that are irregular and entropion (eyelid rolling inwards), and ectropion (eyelid rolling outwards).

Another reason for persistent inflammation is dry eyes, often referred to as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (associated with an inability to produce tears), and infrequent blinking reflexes (leading to a decrease in the ability to keep the eye lubricated and protected).

In some instances, it is possible that eye inflammation occurs as caused by cornea problems such as ulcers, or as a result of prior surgery on the cornea.

Clinical Signs of Pigmentary Keratitis

The appearance of pigmentation on the cornea of dogs is a clear indication of keratitis pigmentary. Its appearance varies in a spectrum ranging from small brown spots to more dark spots to darker.

Owners should be able to observe them with a good degree of clarity under lighting, but at times, special equipment may be needed to spot them.

You can employ your hands to open their eyes to check for pigmentation however, you might accidentally poke them with your eye since dogs can be anxious when you do this.

Diagnosis of Pigmentary Keratitis

 

A physical exam at your veterinarian can tell you whether your dog suffers from pigmentary Keratitis. The vet will evaluate the cornea’s condition and search for other eye issues with tools like an eye ophthalmoscope.

If your dog is suffering from pigmentary keratitis the vet will try to identify the reason. The vet will look for causes of eye irritation, such as the eyelids, as well as eye reflexes.

The vet can evaluate the number of tears your dog produces through the Schirmer Tear Test and dismiss corneal ulcers with the fluorescein stain for the eye. In more serious cases the dog might get referred to an eye doctor.

Treatment for Pigmentary Keratitis

 

The treatment is based on the cause of your dog’s keratitis pigmentary. If the root of the problem is discovered and treated, it may hinder the further deposition of color in the cornea.

Surgery is frequently needed to correct irregularities of the eyelid like eyelid cancers, eyelash disorders as well as ectropion, entropion and. Surgery improves the appearance of the eyelid and helps prevent any further injury to the cornea.

If the reason is dry eyes medication that stimulates tear production can be given to your pet. Artificial tears can also be suggested to help moisturize the dog’s eyes.

The pre-existing colored spots are typically not removed through surgical procedures because there are serious dangers, including blindness. Certain medications can help diminish the visible spots, but their effects may not be identical for all dogs.

At present, there are no treatments that are able to completely reverse the effects of pigmentary Keratitis. The only exception is dry eyes, where the proper tear film would completely eliminate the pigmentation.

As time passes these dark brown marks can be lighter in appearance, however, they’re not likely to disappear.

What is Eye Melanoma?

Eye Melanoma often referred to as ocular melanomas is a form of malignancy that is caused by melanocytes that proliferate in the eye uncontrollably.

Melanocytes are cells that make melanin. Melanin, the color pigment gives the skin, hair, and eyes the colors they have. Melanocytes are found throughout the body, including in the eyes.

The most prominent areas of the eye that contain melanocytes include the eye’s iris (the circular structure that surrounds the pupil that creates the color of the eyes) as well as the area behind the retina (the tissue layer located behind the eyes).

Eye melanoma can be classified as one of two types – uveal Melanoma as well as limbal Melanoma.

Cause of Eye Melanoma

The precise reason for eye melanoma is typically not known for dogs. It could be due to a mix of the environment as well as genetic factors.

It is well-known, however, that eye melanomas are more prevalent in breeds that have more than fair skin color. They include Schnauzers Labrador Retrievers Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels.

Additionally, eye melanoma will likely be more prevalent as dogs reach the middle-to-end stage in their lives. The average age at which eye melanoma is detected is 9 years, those with a genetic predisposition to eye melanoma such as certain Labrador Retrievers might develop it earlier approximately 1 to 2 years.

Signs of Tumor

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Your dog’s eyes may develop irregular structures and coloration for benign and malignant/cancerous cancers.

Uveal Melanoma

Melanoma of the Uveal region includes the iris, as well as melanoma that affects the ciliary organs. When uveal melanoma is developing the pupil can be enlarged and the pupil’s appearance could change.

Other repercussions of uveal melanoma can include:

Hyphemia (internal bleeding that occurs in the center of the eye)

Uveitis (inflammation in the middle of the eye)causes the eyes to become transparent

Glaucoma-related pain can cause your dog to be irritable or squint. They may also whine, squint as well as shake their head.

Iris Melanoma Signs – A single or a number of spots of brownish-black on the iris, which could be flat or elevated. As time passes the spots can grow and then congregate, forming an isolated, raised mass.

The sign Of Ciliary Body Melanoma A dark, swollen mass within the eye that extends into the pupil.

Limbal Melanoma

The most common indication of limbal melanoma is a raised, brownish-black spot that originates from the limbus’s border that extends throughout the sclera (the white part of the eye).

The melanoma usually spreads into the cornea and can cause corneal inflammation. The cornea is then prone to be cloudy.

In the event that limbal melanoma develops and spreads to the eye’s surface and causes conjunctivitis (where the surface of the eye becomes affected) and excessive production of tears may occur.

Strange Behavior Linked to Eye Melanoma

If your dog has eye melanoma, it will scratch or scratch its eyes more frequently. The act of rubbing or scratching their eyes could cause eye infections as well as corneal ulcerations.

Infections and ulcers can be painful and can cause an increased tear, eye discharge, and redness as well as other irregular eyelid movements like eyelid squinting.

Diagnosis of Eye Melanoma

Eye melanoma can be diagnosed through the examination of the signs of the disease and its structure.

As the veterinarian at the vet, your pet will go through an array of tests that begin with a physical exam, followed by an eye exam. The tools that are used include:

1. Ophthalmoscope examines an eye’s interior compartments

2. Tonometer is a device that measures the pressure inside the eye

3. Ultrasounds or X-rays to determine the size of the tumor and the extent to which it has expanded in order to eliminate harmless cysts

Your dog could also go through an event known as staging. The purpose of staging is to determine the progress of cancer. It is particularly important to consider the uveal melanomas that 20% of them are malignant. Malignant refers to the fact that the tumor grows outwards from the eye.

The procedure involves a variety of tests such as urinalysis (urine tests) and the process of bloodwork (blood test) and examining lymph nodes to determine the extent to which cancer has taken over.

Progression of Eye Melanoma

If your dog is not receiving treatment for eye melanomas, they can cause a change in the eye structure, abnormal function, and even deterioration of eyesight health.

Uveal Melanomas

It is evident that the rate of development for melanomas in the uveal area is very slow.

Malignant uveal melanomas may be spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs, but this is not common.

Benign uveal melanomas won’t expand to other areas but the melanomas can expand and alter their structure as well as function the other eye structures as it expands. The tumor can cause tears in the eye and also to invasion of an eye socket.

If no treatment is available in the long run, the consequences can be Uveitis, glaucoma, and reduced vision.

Limbal Melanomas

The growth rate for most melanomas in the limba is also low. While it is slow growth, however, it may affect the function and form of other eye structures like the cornea, causing corneal inflammation.

There are no studies suggesting that limbal melanomas are likely to be spread to other areas.

Treatment of Eye Melanoma

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Uveal Melanoma

The mass is initially monitored over time to observe how it grows. If it gets larger it can be removed without major changes to the eye’s structure, or in your dog’s eyesight.

Removal options include the use of lasers and partial Iridectomy (removing the iris or a part of the iris using surgery).

 

 This provides information about the length of time and how fast the tumor could develop, which will assist the vet to plan any future actions when needed.

They may also recommend regular X-rays and ultrasounds to determine if the cancer has grown further.

At present, chemotherapy isn’t an option to treat eye melanoma because there isn’t enough evidence to indicate it is effective.

Limbal Melanoma

 

Surgery may be necessary in cases where the tumor is encroaching on other areas of the eye or is growing too fast. Surgery involves the removal of the tumor, and possibly other affected parts like the cornea or sclera.

Other procedures that could be utilized as a complement to surgery include laser therapy, radiation therapy, or cryotherapy (where tissues are removed with extreme freezing).

Other Important Information

Enucleation (the surgical removal of an eye) may seem like an unwise choice, but it has the potential to stop cancer-related pain and may make a difference in the life of your dog. In the long future, your dog must be able to easily adjust to the changes in sight.

In Conclusion

The brown spot that appears in the dog’s eye may be a natural pigmentation, which occurs with certain breeds, or is because of old age.

But typically the spot can be caused by pigmentary keratitis or eye melanoma.

Pigmentary Keratitis typically is caused by inflammation of the eye because of dried eyes, eyelid issues as well as abnormal eyes reflexes. Treatment depends on the cause. While treatment can stop further eye pigmentation, it cannot erase the brown spot that has appeared within your dog’s eye.

Eye Melanoma is usually the result of a combination of environmental and genetic causes. Treatment will focus on removing the tissue through surgery, laser therapy, or other veterinarian-recommended procedures.

If you’re unsure whether you are experiencing a problem, it is best to consult the vet or an Ophthalmologist to determine the brown spot. It could be safe or maybe a serious problem like melanoma which can threaten the vision of a dog and his life.

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