Objective: This prospective pilot study was conducted to evaluate the outcome of a commercially available corneal stroma substitute, Acellular Porcine Corneal Stroma (APCS), in dogs undergoing penetrating keratoplasty (PK) to restore corneal integrity after having deep ulcers.
Method: Five dogs (1 eye in each dog) underwent a PK using APCS (BioCorneaVet™) as a graft. The surgical procedure and peri- and postoperative treatment were standardized. All cases required a minimum 6 months follow-up. Ease of keratoprosthetic tissue handling, graft survival, anterior chamber stability, corneal opacity, neovascularization and re-epithelialization were noted. Presence of secondary uveitis was investigated.
Results: BioCorneaVet™ was easy to handle and, at all-time points, provided adequate tectonic support. Graft survival was achieved in all 5 cases. A minimum follow-up period of 10 months was available for the five eyes (22 months maximum). Degree and area of corneal graft opacity progressively improved resulting in minimal to moderate loss of transparency in all cases but one, where it was severe. Neovascularization degree was most severe 0.5-1 month after surgery and fully resolved 4-6 months post-surgery. Re-epithelialization was complete in the majority of grafts in 1 month. Secondary uveitis was not detected at any time in 4 of 5 dogs.
Conclusion: BioCorneaVet™ seems to be an effective graft for PK in the dog. In this case series, APCS was convenient to handle during surgery and provided excellent tectonic support. The material showed good tissue biocompatibility and resulted in the majority of cases in minimal to moderate graft opacity, that ameliorates with time