Entropion in dogs is the inward rolling of the eyelids causing the eyelashes to rub against the eyeballs. This can be equated to having a brush rub against your open eye every time you be blink. Imagine that pain and discomfort constantly on your dog. We explore the symptoms of entropion, causes, types, corrective surgical treatment and aftercare for the condition below.
Entropion in Dogs
Pet MD gives entropion definition as “a genetic condition in which a portion of the eyelid is inverted or folded inward.” This condition can occur in cats, dogs, sheep, and horses but is most common in dogs. The condition is mostly diagnosed by the time a puppy reaches to one year old.
Since entropion in dogs leads to the eyelid rolling inwards, it can cause the eyelashes to scratch on the eye’s surface. This results in pain, corneal perforation or ulceration. In the process, a buildup of dark-colored scar tissue may form as the wound heals resulting in a decrease in vision or its loss altogether.
Other eye problems that may result include excessive tearing, squinting and the dog will hold the eye shut. It is most common in sporting breeds, short-nosed dogs, and giant breeds.
The reason why entropion is such a problem to dogs is that the hairy part of the eyelid turns inwards thus coming into contact with the cornea.
As soon as this happens, the eyeball starts to react by increasing the flow of tears in a bid to wash off the irritant. The flow of blood to the eyeball’s outer structures is also increased resulting in a higher flow of protective antibodies, cleansing and healing cells.
If not treated and allowed to persist beyond this point, the cornea will become cloudy causing an interference with vision. Persistent irritation will then lead to the formation of a protective black pigment, once this black pigment fills the whole cornea, the dog goes blind.
Entropion in dogs is pretty obvious from observation. You can tell that your dog has eye entropion from the inward curling of the eyelids. In addition, the following accompanying symptoms may be observed:
- Eye irritation
- Excessive tearing
- Eyelid crusting from a mucous discharge
Entropion in Dogs Causes
The primary entropion cause in dogs is the facial shape which is genetic. In brachycephalic breeds and those with short noses, there tends to be more tension exerted on the inner eye. This in addition to the confirmation of their nose and shape of face lead to the inward rolling of both the bottom and top dog eyelids.
In giant breeds, on the other hand, there is excess slack on the ligaments on the outer eye corners, this leaves room for the eyelids to fold inwards towards the eyeballs.
Eye irritations and infections could also lead to spastic and functional entropion. This is usually the cause in breeds not genetically predisposed to the condition.
Other causes of entropion in dogs include inflammation of the chewing muscles and severe weight loss which sees the dog lose muscle and fat around the eye sockets.
Types of Entropion in Dogs
Depending on the cause, there are different types of entropion in dogs. These areas discussed below.
This type is hereditary and affects both eyes. It is thought to be inherited and will most of the times appear at birth or develop soon after. Treatment for this type is recommended only after facial maturity has been attained in the dog. Breeds affected include Chow Chow, Labrador, English Bulldogs, Shar Pei, Golden retrievers, Great Dane and Rottweiler.
This involves entropion occurring at the corner of the dog’s eyes. It is common in flat-faced dogs and affects both eyes. Dogs suffering from this type do not appear to suffer obvious signs of discomfort.
When you notice sudden entropion in dogs, it is likely to be cicatricial entropion. This usually occurs as a result of the scarring of eyelids causing an in-rolling. The scarring may have come from wounds attained during fights with other dogs.
Also referred to as spasm entropion, this type occurs secondary to other conditions. Any conditions causing blepharospasm which refer to an irregular contraction of the eyelids can cause this. Inflammatory conditions can also cause spasmodic contractions of the muscles thus resulting in an inward curling of the lids.
Acquired entropion may be experienced in dogs suffering conjunctivitis, blepharitis, ulcerative keratitis, or uveitis. To relieve the dog, treatment of the underlying condition is necessary. Only in severe cases will corrective surgery be necessary.
Latrogenic entropion in dogs results from a blepharoplasty surgery gone wrong. It is, therefore, damage caused by a doctor during surgery such as when they are performing ectropion correction. An overcorrection of the same will lead to an inward rolling of the eyelids.
Entropion requires both care and management and in some cases corrective surgery. For entropion in puppies, it is necessary to address secondary causes first. Antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial infections. Where the dog is suffering from corneal ulceration, lubricating the eyes using artificial tears can help. If the entropion is causing your dog to scratch the eyes, use an Elizabethan collar to prevent it from harming itself more.
While these may provide relief, non-surgical treatments only offer temporary relief in severe cases and have to be repeated to manage the problem. Surgical correction is normally necessary in the long run in cases of severe entropion.
Entropion Surgery in Dogs
Before opting for corrective surgery as treatment for entropion in dogs, it is important to eliminate any underlying causes. For newborn pets, breeders should observe them keenly especially in breeds susceptible to entropion. Where they have not opened their eyelids after four to five weeks, have them checked for entropion in puppies.
Wondering what is entropion surgery? It is a surgery mostly done through suturing. This involves removing a section of the skin on the eyelid to turn it outward. It is done under a local anesthesia. In order to avoid over-correction and a condition known as ectropion, a major corrective surgery is conducted. This is then followed up by a second minor surgery.
Surgery is only recommended for dogs that have attained their adult size and is necessary for senile entropion where a dog with no history of this condition develops it. Where the entropion is severe, facial reconstruction surgery once the dog has matured may be necessary.
Cost of Entropion Surgery and Treatment for Dogs
How much does entropion surgery cost in dogs? The cost of correcting entropion in dogs is determined by a number of factors. The more severe the condition is the more costly it might be since it may require more than one surgery. The experience of the practitioner, as well as location, also determine the cost. Bilateral entropion correction may also cost more.
Embracepetinsurance.com gives entropion surgery cost in the range of $300 to $500 when the procedure is offered by a general practitioner and $500 to $1500 when the surgery is conducted by a veterinary surgeon or ophthalmologist.
Entropion Surgery in Dogs After Care and Recovery
After the surgical procedure has been carried out, some medication will be offered for the pain and to help the dog remain calm and relaxed during the recovery period. A follow-up visit may also be issued for the surgeon to check if the dog is healing properly.
Once the procedure has been done, it is important to follow the given after surgery care instructions given. This will help hasten in the recovery while at the same time protecting your dog against secondary infections.
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