Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Veterinary Clinical Science

First Advisor

Jean Stiles

Committee Member 1

Wendy Townsend

Committee Member 2

Sandy Taylor


Corneal ulcers are a commonly encountered problem in domesticated species and can cause significant pain, incur a high cost for the owner, and result in blindness or eventual enucleation. The progressive deepening of corneal ulcers is mediated by enzymatic destruction of stromal collagen (termed keratomalacia) when collagenases from endogenous and exogenous sources are active on the corneal surface. The inhibition of collagenases can therefore be crucial to mitigating the damage that breakdown of corneal stromal collagen causes. In ulcers where collagenase activity is suspected, the use of topical serum has been recommended, in both human and veterinary medicine, primarily due to the presence of an endogenous serum anti-collagenase protein molecule: α-2 macroglobulin. Alpha-2 macroglobulin is produced by the liver and is able to inactivate collagenase molecules from various endogenous and exogenous sources. Plasma has also been recommended for use, in various forms, for the treatment of various corneal conditions. Plasma, in addition to containing α-2 macroglobulin, also contains platelets and other growth factors that may be useful in promoting corneal healing. Despite widespread recommendations for the topical use of serum to treat keratomalacia, there is little data on its storage and usage in domestic species. Additionally, there is little