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Characterisation of corneal impression cytology in dogs and its application in the diagnosis of keratoconjunctivitis sicca
  1. Mikel Lejarza-Ilaro1,
  2. Alfonso Rodriguez-Alvaro2,
  3. Belen Sanchez-Maldonado2 and
  4. Elisa Gonzalez-Alonso-Alegre2
  1. 1 Lejarza Veterinay Center, O Burgo, Spain
  2. 2 Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary School of the Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  1. E-mail for correspondence; ELISAG{at}UCM.ES


Objective Determine morphological and morphometric parameters of corneal epithelium in dogs, and determine the cellular alterations that occur in canine keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) using impression cytology.

Study animals 60 dogs divided into two groups: dogs with Schirmer tear test (STT) at least 15 mm/minute and absence of ocular disease, and dogs with STT less than 15 mm/minute and clinical signs of KCS.

Procedures Impression cytology was used to collect corneal samples. The percentage of eyes with cell changes, the number of such cells and the percentage of cells with structural alterations in each group were determined. The possible correlation between corneal epithelium alterations and decreased tear production was evaluated.

Results A significant positive correlation existed between STT and the area of the cytoplasm and nucleus of corneal cells. A significant negative correlation was found between STT ​​and the nucleus/cytoplasm ratio, and the presence of cellular changes. A significant difference existed between the numbers of pyknotic nuclei, being higher among animals with all stages of KCS.

Conclusion Corneal impression cytology can be used to assess the corneal epithelium in healthy eyes and eyes with KCS, demonstrating its usefulness as a diagnostic tool especially in mild and early cases.

  • millipore
  • canine
  • cornea
  • corneal epithelium
  • dry eye
  • diagnosis
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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