2. Department of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Urbino, Urbino, 61029, Italy.
3. Ambulatorio Veterinario Saviano-Larocca, Spezzano, 41042, Italy.
Background: Despite limited information, topical drug combinations are being routinely used for the treatment keratitis in pinnipeds.Corneal alterations in pinnipeds, as in other animal species, can be cause of severe pain and the intensity of discomfort can vary in the affected subjects. Late diagnosis or untimely treatment can lead to dramatic developments even in case of minor corneal diseases, with sometimes disastrous consequences for the globe up to loss of vision.
Methods: During five years a small population of different species, age and sex, kept under human care, was submitted to a complete daily ophthalmological evaluation and to a treatment when necessary.
Results: The ulcerative keratitis was a relatively frequent pathology (seven of 15 subjects for a total of 76 episodes). Six of 7 patients (85.7%) showed lesions simultaneously in both eyes at least once. The average time elapsing between the ulcer diagnosis and the healing of the same was about 32 days (σ=±18 days) with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 74 days. In cases where the therapy has been conducted, the onset ulcer until its resolution, with the same drug (n = 6), were obtained average values of 28.6 days (σ=±17.07 days) in the case of netilmicin, 27.5 days (σ=±6.56 days) for tobramycin, and 41.95 days (σ=±9.69 days) for gentamycin. The difference between these values was statistically not significant (p = 0.9) for netilmicin and tobramycin while for the group treated only with gentamycin, the difference was detected statistically significant compared with netilmicin and tobramycin (p=0.048 and p=0.042 respectively). In two cases (n=2) it was considered necessary to associate local therapy with systemic therapy using doxycycline and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In these cases the resolution has taken place in 31 days (σ=±16.65 days). In four cases (n=4) autologous plasma has been added to local therapy. In eleven cases (n=7) it was necessary to use local osmotic agents (sodium chloride 5%, glucose 35%) to solve the edema.
Conclusions: Due to the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the pinnipeds eye, the best medical treatment for corneal lesions in our experience was the use of antibiotic collyrium associated with hyperosmotic solution in case of edema and platelet rich plasma (PRP) to support the healing, considering an administration frequency 3-4 times/day at least.
Keywords: Pinnipeds, ulcerative keratitis, incidence, management, Shapiro-Wilk test