This type of ulcer is known by several names including Boxer Ulcer, Indolent Ulcer, Rodent Ulcer, and SCCED (spontaneous chronic corneal epithelial defect). These ulcers tend to occur in middle aged to older dogs and are most common in the Boxer breed.
The cause of theses ulcers is unclear but most are likely to be spontaneous in origin although they can be caused by ocular trauma. A typical “scratched cornea” will heal in about 3 days. A refractory ulcer, without proper therapy, can last for weeks to months leading to chronic eye pain and potential vision loss.
There are several strategies successfully used to help stimulate healing of indolent ulcers in dogs. The most common treatment is a procedure called a grid keratoplasty. This procedure is performed with topical anesthesia and involves scratching the surface of the eye with a small needle. This exposes the healthier deeper tissue at the site of the ulcer and gives the cells that form the surface barrier something to adhere to. This procedure has a 90% success rate of getting the ulcer to heal in 2 weeks time. Following the procedure, a bandage contact lens is sometimes placed to ensure that the patient is comfortable as the eye is healing. Additionally, a topical antibiotic is used to help prevent a bacterial infection during the healing process.