• Dr. Eliott Reich


Last night I visited Sasha and her two dogs, Troy and Finn. Finn, a 3-year old springer spaniel, has developed little white spots on the cornea of both of his eyes and I came to investigate. 

After a thorough ophthalmologic examination, I diagnosed Florida Keratopathy, also known as Florida Spots.

This disease is characterised by multiple 1mm-8mm gray-white spots that are mainly located in the center of the cornea.  Unfortunately there is no response to antibiotic, anti-fungal or anti-inflammatory treatment, but the lesions typically do not cause pain, nor do they cause loss of eyesight in patients.

This disease was discovered in Florida (hence the name!) and is endemic to the south-east of the United States as well as South America. It's a disease that affects dog and cats, as well as birds and horses.

Now how did Finn, a dog that moved from the UK to Israel at the age of 5 months and didn't leave since, develop this disease? And how does this disease develop anyway? 

Currently there is only little research available on the disease, but it all points to the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) being the culprit.  Florida Spots are endemic to places where the little fire ant is endemic. The lesions are probably caused by the ants venom, either by a direct sting or by the dog/ cat having the ant on the paw and rubbing it across the face/ eyes.

Around 20 years ago Israel imported wood from South America and along with it, the little fire ant. As an invasive species it spread quickly throughout Israel and can now be found in the entire country. The only way to prevent the disease, is to get rid of the ant, which you can do in your private garden if you wish.  Unfortunately there is no effective way to get rid of these ants in public parks and I expect Florida Spots to spread to more and more pets.

If your dog or cat develops these kind of lesions don't panic. Get a veterinarian to take a look at your pet's eyes, as a few other diseases can look similar but have different underlying causes and can possibly be treated (Corneal Lipidosis, Ulcers, etc.).

If you have any questions regarding Florida Spots or any other medical issue relating to your pet, feel free to send us a message! 😊

Wishing you all the best,

Dr. Eliott Reich

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