Florida Spots

I had both Davinia and Indiana tested at the eye clinic this weekend at the Southern Regional Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Show. Indiana had an interesting result that I figured I would post as a separate post because it is so unusual. She was diagnosed with Florida Spots. Basically they are tiny little spots on her eyes that are only found in dogs that have lived in the Tropics and Sub-Tropics. There are several theories on what causes them but only two papers have ever been written by veterinarians on the subject. They do know that the spots are not helped with medication nor can the dog be treated with anything in order to stop them from occurring. From what I can find they don’t seem to be contagious from mother to puppies or from one dog to another however in general houses with one dog who has Florida Spots seem to have multiple dogs in their household effected.The information given about Florida Spots or Florida Keratopothy in the Veterinary Textbook called Essentials of Veterinary Ophthalmology has about a paragraphs worth of information mostly about what the animal would present with and not the cause or solution to keep it from reoccurring.

I think that Indiana started getting them in Hong Kong but I thought that they were lipid deposits in her eyes like Davinia has. Only Indiana’s spots are smaller and do readily apparent from a distance.

What is Florida Spots:

Florida keratopathy (Florida spots) is an eye condition characterized by the presence of multiple spots within both corneas. It is most commonly seen in dogs and cats, but is also rarely seen in horses and birds. In the United States, Florida keratopathy is found in animals in the southeastern part of the country. In other parts of the world it is confined to tropics and subtropics, and it is known as tropical keratopathy.

Florida keratopathy appears as multiple cloudy opacities in the stromal layer of the cornea. The spots appear concentrated at the center and become more diffuse at the periphery. They can range in size from one to eight millimeters. There are no other symptoms, and there is no response to treatment with either anti-inflammatory or antimicrobial drugs. Histological analysis of affected corneas has found acid-fast staining organisms, suggesting Florida keratopathy may be caused by a type of mycobacterium.

There is a strong suspicion that it is induced by repeated stings of Wasmannia auropunctata to the eyes, the Little Fire Ant.

We have Fire Ants in Miami and Indiana insists on walking with her nose to the ground so it is completely possible that they are the cause and that I would not have seen one or two on her before they stung her because they are so small. On the other hand if she didn’t start getting these spots in Hong Kong as I believe she did I honestly do not remember seeing a fire antĀ  there. That’s not to say that they aren’t there but I didn’t have a garden or a private pool where I would have had intimate and painful contact with them. The information does say that these spots do not bother the animal are not painful or inflamed.

I am going to call my regular vet to see if he has any experience with this and how he handles it. I am sure he has seen it before and sometimes vets in particular Regions who see things more often have foundĀ  ways to treat them that other vets don’t know about because they only see a case or two in their entire careers.

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  1. Stacey Monroe says:

    I live in fire ant country too and have never heard of or seen this problem. But, like many things once you are introduced to something you start hearing about it…

    • It is pretty rare and would not necessarily be caught at a regular exam. You need special tools to really see and count them not just a two second flashlight look in their eyes.

  2. Hi! I just adopted a kitten and he was found to have Florida spots on his eyes as well! We live in the Caribbean, so they are pretty common here in pets, and there are a lot of fire ants around!

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