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The use of porcine small intestinal submucosa for the repair of full-thickness corneal defects in dogs, cats and horses


Address communications to: Sheryl G. Krohne Tel.: (765) 494–1107 Fax: (765) 496–1025 e-mail:


Abstract Objective  To evaluate the efficacy of using a porcine small intestinal submucosa (SIS) graft covered by a conjunctival flap for the surgical repair of full-thickness corneal wounds in dogs, cats and horses.

Procedure  All records dating from August 1999 to February 2003 from Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital of patients that had undergone ophthalmic surgical procedures and received a SIS corneal graft for a full-thickness lesion were reviewed. Fifteen cases were identified including six dogs, two cats and seven horses. Requirements for inclusion in this study were that SIS was used as a corneal graft in a full-thickness corneal defect and that the graft was completely covered with a conjunctival flap.

Results  Of the 15 cases, one canine patient had received SIS following removal of an epibulbar melanocytoma. The remaining five canine patients had undergone this surgical procedure for the repair of corneal perforation. The two feline patients had been presented for corneal perforation following chronic ulceration. One equine patient had been presented for a deep melting ulcer, three for stromal corneal abscesses, and three for corneal perforations. Complications encountered postoperatively included aqueous leakage, conjunctival flap dehiscence, synechia, cataract and fibrin in the anterior chamber. Fourteen out of 15 patients were visual at the final re-evaluation.

Conclusion  SIS is an inexpensive, easy-to-handle biomaterial that appears to be suitable for the repair of full-thickness corneal wounds in dogs, cats and horses. Results of our study support the conclusion that this relatively new product is an effective alternative to traditional implantation materials utilized in veterinary ophthalmology.