Entropion in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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    What is Entropion in Dogs?

    Photo Credit: VCA Hospitals

    Entropion is the inward curling of the eyelids. This causes irritation and discomfort because the hairy eyelid skin comes into close touch with the eye surface and eyelashes rub against the eye. Both eyes are usually afflicted in the majority of instances. It is most commonly detected in puppies under the age of one year. 

    What Causes Entropion in Dogs?

    There are two main causes of entropion:

    Primary Entropion

    Primary entropion is the genetic predisposition to develop the condition. This may either be a result of being a predisposed breed or having a hereditary history of entropion. Physical characteristics to consider that can cause entropion to include:

    • The shape of the skull
    • The shape of the bone cavity that contains the eyeball
    • Gender
    • Ample skin folds and wrinkles around the eyes
    • The length of the eyelid

    Acquired Entropion

    Acquired entropion is the result of trauma to the eye. Forms of trauma that can cause entropion in dogs include:

    • Eye injuries
    • Eyelid scarring 
    • Nerve damage
    • Systemic dermatological conditions

    Who’s at Risk of Developing Entropion?

    Entropion is a hereditary condition and is more likely to develop in certain breeds. The most typically afflicted dogs are those with large facial wrinkles and a “droopy eye” appearance. These breeds include English Bulldogs, Shar-Peis, Pugs, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Chow Chows, and Rottweilers. 

    What are the Symptoms of Entropion in Dogs?

    Most dogs who have entropion ​​will squint, close their eyes, and weep excessively (epiphora), while some may develop a mucoid discharge. Many flat-faced dogs with medial entropion (involvement of the corner of the eyes towards the nose) show no symptoms of pain. Here are all the symptoms of entropion in dogs:

    • Eye redness/conjunctivitis
    • Squinting
    • Apparent swelling around eyes
    • Excessive tearing
    • Eye discharge
    • Rubbing at eyes
    • Corneal ulcers
    • Excessive blinking/blepharospasms

    How is Entropion Diagnosed?

    It’s fairly easy to spot entropion but a thorough examination is required before going forward with any treatments. ​​A veterinarian would usually anesthetize the eye (since it is often painful) and stain the cornea to assess its integrity or ulceration. After general vets have identified and assessed the severity of the problem, ophthalmologists are frequently consulted, especially in severe cases.

    What is the Treatment for Entropion?

    Photo Credit: South Eastern Animal Hospital

    If entropion is present in dogs at a young age, vets may try something called “lid tacking”, which is a very minimally invasive procedure compared to surgery. A stitch is introduced above, below, or both the lids in this approach (depending on the number of lids impacted) in the hopes that the lids would develop in a “rolled out” fashion. In the long run, this method isn’t always effective

    The optimal entropion treatment depends on the severity of the condition, although entropion surgery is frequently required to correct the lid deformity. This form of plastic surgery (known as “blepharoplasty”) needs the precise excision of a crescent-shaped section of tissue above the injured lid to rotate the lid outwards. In some dogs, surgery is necessary, particularly in those who have been severely injured or in young, maturing pups whose lids may change in form as they age.

    For dogs with extensive skin folds over the eyes, “brow-raising” treatments, which need permanent implants, provide an alternative to entropion surgery. This approach isn’t commonly utilized, and its effectiveness is currently being researched.

    Can You Prevent Entropion?

    Entropion, unfortunately, cannot always be prevented due to the predisposition as a result of a dog’s physical traits which are a part of their breed.

    The only thing you can do is try to catch it as soon as possible so that the symptoms don’t get worse and the recovery proceeds as easily as possible.

    If your dog comes from a breed that is prone to entropion, you should pay special attention to his eye health. Keep them clean and take them to the vet for checks on a regular basis.

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