Corneal ulcers in which proteolytic dissolution of the cornea occurs are described as “melting” ulcers or as being affected by keratomalacia. Corneal sequestrum in cats can be associated with feline herpesvirus 1 infection or chronic corneal irritation and usually requires keratectomy with or without corneal graft. The goal of treatment is to retain structural integrity of the cornea with minimal disruption in corneal transparency. In human medicine, bovine pericardial patches (BP) have been evaluated for treatment of corneal wounds.
In this study, 3 dogs with keratomalacia and 3 cats with corneal sequestra had BP material placed in the keratectomy bed and sutured with 9-0 polyglactin suture. Systemic and topical antibiotics, systemic NSAIDs, and topical atropine were prescribed postoperatively. Corneal neovascularization was present around the BP graft in all cases after 1 week. At 4 weeks, 2 dogs and all cats exhibited regressing vascularization and the graft was integrating into the cornea, which was regaining transparency. Two months postoperatively, 5 of 6 corneas in 2 dogs and 3 cats had healed with focal corneal scarring. These success rates are similar to those obtained with small intestinal submucosal or amniotic membrane grafts. Based on this study, BP grafts require further evaluation as treatment for infected corneal ulcers but appear to be a promising treatment for corneal sequestra.