Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

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June 2020

Scleritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the white part of the eye, called the sclera.  Sometimes the inflammation will spread to nearby tissues.  Scleritis can be mistaken for more common conditions like conjunctivitis or glaucoma. Testing intra-occurlar pressure will rule out (or confirm) glaucoma but specific diagnosis requires a biopsy.   The condition cannot be cured but it can be treated with steroids or other anti-inflammatory medications.   The disease is somewhat common in Cocker Spaniels but, fortunately, is very rare in Australian Shepherds.

Because scleritis is a type of autoimmune disease and therefore genetically predisposed the dog should not be bred.  If it is male and semen from has been stored, it should be discarded. Near relatives of affected dogs should not be bred to mates with a family history of any autoimmune disease.