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D2010-35

Dear Daisy Dog

Marty, my 10-year-old beagle, has small, round, pale white, shimmering spots at the center of each eye. The veterinarian said they were fatty deposits and not to worry about them. Will they progress? Marty eats regular dry dog food; should I change to a low-fat food?

Daisy Responds

It sounds like Marty has lipid keratopathy. “Kerato” refers to the cornea, the clear surface of the eye, and “pathy” indicates an abnormality. The condition also is called lipid corneal dystrophy.

It is inherited in beagles and about 60 other breeds, ranging from Afghan hounds to Yorkshire terriers. My Irish wolfhound brother has the disorder too.

Generally, the white spots, which are deposits of fat and cholesterol, do not affect vision, do not progress, and are not associated with any underlying diseases. No treatment is necessary.

On the other hand, a similar condition, called secondary lipid keratopathy, may develop in response to another disease, such as a more serious eye problem, an underactive thyroid gland, or elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

If Marty has high cholesterol or triglycerides, a low-fat diet may help. If he has hypothyroidism, a thyroid supplement will be prescribed.

And if not, Marty can join my wolfhound brother in ignoring the condition, as your veterinarian recommended.

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