June 23, 2014

My Bahamian Dog Has A Florida Spot

Florida spot, tropical keratopathy
The camera did not pick up the entire spot, but you can see the cloudy star-shaped area under her pupil. 

I took the ginger sisters to the vet on Saturday for wellness exams and their DHPP (distemper-parvo) vaccines. Boca also got an oral bordetella vaccine since it is a requirement for the obedience class we have registered for in July. Next week they will get their rabies vaccines, and Boca will have her dental work (cleaning and a bad tooth extracted). I prefer to split the vaccines up if possible, and after this year they will be on a staggered 3-year schedule for DHPP and rabies. 

After I had scheduled the wellness appointment a few weeks ago, I noticed a spot of opacity in Boca's right eye, like a smudge on a window. I Googled a few things and tried not to worry about it until I could point it out to our vet, since it didn't seem to be changing or causing her any discomfort or vision impairment. 

The vet had a look and determined that it is most likely a "Florida spot" or tropical keratopathy, something seen only in dogs from the southeastern U.S. and tropical and sub-tropical climates. Since Boca came from The Bahamas, this diagnosis makes sense. There are no other symptoms and the condition does not respond to treatment, so the vet said at this point the condition is just cosmetic, which was great news. 

There is not much information to be found online about Florida spots, and what I did find was in line with what the vet said: no other complications, no treatment. There is one published research paper from a study done on dogs and cats in Sao Paolo, Brazil supposing that it is caused by a mycobacterial infection. The Wikipedia article suggests that fire ant stings are a possible cause. True to her carefree and optimistic nature, Boca seems untroubled by the smudge on her eye, and continues to view life through her rose-colored doggie goggles.

Update: As of Boca's eye issues in 2015, the veterinary ophthalmologists do not believe Boca has Florida Spots.


  1. I'm glad all is well! Googling eye problems is never a good idea--I'm sure you'd worried yourself to death.

    This is our off-year for vaccines, thank goodness. I'll continue giving them until I see a reason to stop, but it's a relief not to have it hanging over me.

  2. So interesting! I have never heard about this before. You're very perceptive too; now I'm worried that one of the dogs has this small health condition that I've never noticed...

  3. I've never run into this before, I'm glad it's nothing too serious!

  4. Re: vaccinations, you might also consider doing blood titers. You can have your vet draw the blood, separate out the serum, and then send the sample to Hemopet (https://labordatenbank.com/cake/hemopet/samples/hemopet_form). Unless your vet will do it for cheaper (which mine won't). It's more expensive than vaccines, but if you're at all worried about overvaccinating, I suggest it. I did it for Mia when we first got her, because we knew nothing of her history. Turned out she was fully vaccinated for everything.

    1. Kari - I have heard of doing titers and would consider it; however on Fern's recent podcast about vaccinations, the vet he had on, who seemed fairly conservative about vaccines, said the titers are not accurate and won't predict immunity. He compared immunity to memory and not entirely measurable. It was interesting. The girls did fine with their DHPP, so as long as rabies also goes well I will stick with the staggered schedule. I'll consider lepto if we do more hiking.

  5. Ha - I never heard of that Florida spot before either - very interesting!

    Glad everything checked out well! I don't know about you, but whenever I take Blueberry to the vet - even for routine things, I feel a bit of anxiety that doesn't lift until the vet says everything is normal. Then, I can breathe normally again.

  6. I've never heard of a Florida spot. But when I saw the title of your post, I thought Boca had a dark patch of fur shaped like the state of Florida.

    I'm glad it's not causing her a problem.

  7. I have never heard of that either but now I do, thanks to you. I am glad it is benign and doesn't need treatment.

  8. that's interesting. I once thought I saw something similar on Dakota and he was born in Michigan. He is going to the vet Monday. Will have him look. www.dakotasden.net

  9. Glad everything is ok with Boca and that it is simply cosmetic and nothing more serious.

  10. WOW I never heard of this til now - ty for sharing and how cute this sweetheart is. Check out the cuties on the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday post today


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