Tech Guest Blog – Entropion in Dogs
Today we’re looking at a problem that occurs primarily in the dog. Ashley, one of our LVTs, has put together a great article on recognizing and treating entropion, so without delay…
Entropion In Dogs
Entropion is an inward rolling of the eyelids. This is a common eye problem and can be present soon after birth or acquired later in life. It most commonly affects the lower lid.
Entropion that is considered an inherited condition usually develops within a few months of birth. THe condition occurs in a wide variety of purebred dogs, including the Chow, English Bulldogs, Irish Setters, Labrador Retriever, St. Bernard, Sharpei, Golden Retriever, Great Dane and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.
Entropion may also be developed later in life secondary to other changes around the eye. It can also arise from spasm and pain associated with damage to the cornea or other eye diseases. It may occur when the eye itself moves backwards ingot he socket or when the eye becomes shrunken following a severe injury or infection. Occasionally, entropion develops following loss of natural/normal nerve function in the eyelids.
Since entropion is the inward rolling of the eyelid, the hair on the affected lid continuous rubs against the cornea. This can cause significant discomfort and trauma to the eye. [Dr.H: The cornea is the outermost surface of the eye, where a contact lens rests. It is very densely supplied with nerve endings, making it an exceptionally sensitive structure. Imagine having dirt in your eye that you could never get rid of. Ouch! The white haze on the surface of the eye is scarring and swelling due to the constant rubbing of the hairs.]
Symptoms to Look For
Rubbing of the eyes (with paws or rubbing on furniture/floor)
Thick eye discharge (mucus)
Wetness in the fur around the eye
A thorough eye examination along with careful examination of the edges of the eyelids, looking for ingrown eyelashes or abnormally placed eyelashes. A special dye should be used to detect any damage to the cornea that may be present due to the hair rubbing the surface.
There is no medical therapy to correct entropion. Surgical correction is necessary. [Dr.H: We do a bit of plastic surgery to remove a section of eyelid above/below the edge. This pulls the edge that touches the eye outward, basically undoing the inward curve so the lid rests normally on the eye surface.] Overcorrecting entropion can have serious repercussions, including outward rolling of the lid or inability to close the lids completely over the eyeball. This may require a second surgery or lifelong medication. A second surgical option is called “tacking,” often used in young Sharpeis. A stitch is placed to hold the wrinkles around the eye up as the dog grows. In 7-10 days, the dog has grown enough that the wrinkles are not big enough to roll the eyelid in.
Homecare After Surgery
After any procedure to correct entropion, dogs must wear an Elizabethan collar (a cone/lampshade) to prevent self-damage. Frequent exams of the eyes to prevent any pain and track any excessive tearing. We generally use topical antibiotics and oral pain medication after surgery. Stitches are removed in 10-14 days. Most dogs are permanently corrected with one surgery.
Since entropion is considered an inherited condition in most breeds, it is not recommended to breed dogs with this condition. This will decrease the incidence of this disease in that breed.