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  • Author or Editor: Morgan D. Johnson x
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To retrospectively describe ocular abnormalities reported in dogs with presumed dysautonomia.


79 dogs with dysautonomia.


Medical records from the Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center from 2004 to 2021 were reviewed for dogs with a clinical or histopathologic diagnosis of canine dysautonomia (CD). Ophthalmic exam abnormalities, nonocular clinical signs, and outcomes were recorded.


Most dogs (73/79 [92.4%]) with CD exhibited at least 1 ocular abnormality. The most common ocular abnormalities were diminished pupillary light reflexes (PLRs) in 55 of 79 (69.6%) dogs and elevation of the third eyelids in 51 of 79 (64.6%) dogs. Schirmer tear test values were bilaterally decreased in 32 of 56 (57.1%) dogs. Other ocular abnormalities included resting mydriasis, ocular discharge, photophobia, blepharospasm, corneal ulceration, and conjunctival vessel pallor. The most common nonocular clinical signs were vomiting or regurgitation in 69 of 79 (87.3%) and diarrhea in 34 of 79 (43.0%) dogs. Pharmacologic testing with dilute 0.01%, 0.05%, or 0.1% pilocarpine yielded pupillary constriction in 42 of 51 (82.4%) dogs. Thirty-two of 79 (40.5%) dogs survived to discharge. Resolution of ocular abnormalities was variable.


Ophthalmic abnormalities such as diminished PLRs, elevation of the third eyelids, and decreased tear production are commonly associated with CD and provide support for its antemortem clinical diagnosis, though dogs with normal PLRs can be diagnosed with the disease. Pharmacologic testing with dilute topical pilocarpine in dogs with clinical signs suggestive of dysautonomia supports a diagnosis of CD. Ophthalmic abnormalities may improve or resolve over time.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association