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Cryosurgery for Dogs

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    What is Cryosurgery?

    Cryosurgery is a treatment in which extremely cold temperatures are used to kill living tissue on the skin. It is also dubbed cryotherapy due to the fact that it is not in fact a surgery and no cutting is involved. 

    It is not always the first line of treatment depending on the condition but is often reserved for patients whose anesthetic risk is deemed risky, such as elderly dogs or for skin conditions so minor that surgery would be too invasive. The procedure itself is temporarily painful but can be alleviated with a local anesthetic. Cryosurgery used to be more popular than it is now, and it is now available as a treatment option in first opinion clinics.

    What does Cryosurgery Treat?

    Cryosurgery aids in the treatment of tumors in unusual or inconvenient locations, such as areas where pets frequently scratch, pick at, or lick, as well as sensitive areas such as the mouth. It’s often used to treat:

    • ​​Cysts
    • Warts
    • Lesions
    • Masses

    How Does Cryosurgery Work?

    During cryosurgery, liquid nitrogen cooled to -127°F is applied to the affected area and it freezes the area by killing abnormal cells and therefore preventing future growth. A specialty vet will typically use liquid nitrogen or Argon gas, applied with special, ultra-thin cryoneedles, a cryoprobe, or a simple foam or cotton swab. After the liquid nitrogen is applied, the frozen growth then turns red and blisters. A scab then forms and falls off within 2-3 weeks.


    Tissue may liquefy and appear green and gangrenous in moist areas such as the mouth and anus. Typically, all that is required is gentle bathing of the area to remove as much dead and molting tissue as possible. The affected tissues occasionally emit a foul odor.


    Dogs can usually be awake during this procedure, at least with smaller growths. For larger growths, sedation and local anesthetic is required to keep the dog still. The procedure is uncomfortable. Despite how the frozen tissue appears after the procedure, there is no pain due to the anesthetic effect on nerve endings. 

    How Effective is Cryosurgery?

    Cryosurgery is highly effective depending on the growth and location. Certain growths, such as small warts and small skin tumors, can be resolved with one treatment. Because cryotherapy typically does not leave stitches, wounds, or scars, the dogs are less likely to lick, scratch, or bite at wounds and stitches and recover faster.

    How Much Does Cryosurgery Cost?

    The cost of cryosurgery varies depending on the size of the lesion, whether your veterinarian uses anesthesia and whether it is local or general, and the number of treatments your dog requires. Each treatment, including regular office visits, can cost between $100 and $300. The cost of anesthesia will rise depending on the type of anesthesia used and the size of your dog.

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    What are Corticosteroids for Dogs?

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      What are Corticosteroids for Dogs?

      Corticosteroids (a.k.a steroids or cortisone) are steroid hormones that are naturally generated in the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids are vital in the body for a variety of reasons, including stress response, immune system response, inflammatory regulation, nutrition metabolism, and blood electrolyte balance. They can be administered orally, which is the most usual and easy method for pet owners, or intravenously or subcutaneously by a veterinarian for quicker absorption.

      What Do Corticosteroids Treat in Dogs?

      Corticosteroids are routinely used to treat a wide range of ailments in dogs, but the dosage and length of therapy vary depending on the type of your dog’s ailment. Low doses are often used to treat inflammation-related conditions such as joint pain, allergies, respiratory conditions, and skin issues/dermatitis. Higher doses are often used to treat autoimmune disorders such as Lupus and Addison’s Disease.

      How Do Corticosteroids Work?

      Corticosteroids function by replicating natural hormones generated by the adrenal cortex, which decrease chemicals that activate the immune system’s inflammatory response and act as an immunosuppressant when administered in high doses.

      What Corticosteroids Are There?

      Prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, triamcinolone, and methylprednisolone are the most often given corticosteroids which are also synthetic corticosteroids. Corticosteroids in this form are the most commonly prescribed type and are several times more effective than the naturally occurring versions present in the body and often have a significantly longer half-life. Due to their increased potency and duration of action, synthetic corticosteroids must be used with caution to avoid serious side effects.

      What Do Corticosteroids Cost for Dogs?

      The cost of corticosteroid treatment for dogs is determined by multiple different factors, including the length of treatment, the dog’s size, the exact medication used, and how it’s administered. For example, 30 tablets of oral prednisone to take at home is only around $6-$10 from Chewy based on the dosage but it may cost around $50-$150 for an injection at the vet.

      What Are The Side Effects of Corticosteroids in Dogs?

      Photo Credit: Whole Dog Journal

      Corticosteroids in dogs can cause various side effects which vary depending on whether it’s used short term or long term. Short term is often used as an allergy treatment and side effects may include:

      • Excessive panting
      • Increase lethargy
      • Increased appetite 
      • Increased thirst and urination
      • Nausea and vomiting
      • Worsening skin infections 

      Long term usage is that which lasts for multiple weeks or months and side effects may include:

      • UTIs
      • Obesity as a result of increased appetite
      • Development of thin skin, thin coat, and blackheads
      • Muscle weakness as a result of metabolic breakdown of muscle tissue
      • Cushing’s disease
      • Behavior changes such as anger, aggressiveness, depression, and anxiety
      • Stunted growth in young dogs
      • Hypertension
      • Lack of healing
      • Digestive tract ulcers
      • Kidney issues
      • There is also a chance of pre-diabetic dogs developing diabetes during treatment and then reverting back to pre-diabetes once treatment is complete

      Side effects may be reduced by lowering the dosage, discontinuing treatment, or using an alternate steroid or treatment. Due to the commonality of side effects, corticosteroids are usually used just at the beginning stages of an allergic reaction while being gradually tapered off in an effort to reduce the chance of side effects. 

      If your dog is displaying any side effects of corticosteroids, you should inform your veterinarian as they may want to change treatment or lower the dosage.

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      What is Chiropractic Care for Dogs?

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        What is Chiropractic Care?

        Photo Credit: Ontario Chiropractic Association

        Chiropractic care therapy for dogs is an alternative treatment that has received considerable support in traditional medicine during the last few decades. Chiropractic refers to the technique of manipulating the spine to heal disease and is derived from the Greek terms “cheir” which means “hand” and “praxis” which means “practice” or “done by.” The links between numerous bodily components and the nervous system via the spinal column, as well as the function of the spine in biomechanics and movement, are central to chiropractors’ illness hypotheses. The spine is targeted for treatment in an attempt to slow the course of the illness.  

        Veterinary practitioners are now investigating the therapeutic potential of this way of manipulating and placing the spinal column in the treatment of a variety of illnesses. Chiropractic therapy is often reserved for post-surgery care and to supplement other treatment options for a variety of ailments and disorders.

        How Does Chiropractic Care Work?

        Chiropractic treatment for dogs consists of spinal manipulation or manual therapy to correct misaligned vertebrae in the spine (also known as vertebral subluxations) and alleviate pressure on the nerve tissue around them. As a result, pain is reduced and the body is given the opportunity to heal naturally.

        For animals with spinal anomalies or biomechanical musculoskeletal disorders, chiropractic is often utilized as a complement to conventional therapies. These injuries and disorders may quickly deteriorate your pet’s health, restricting movement, posture, and flexibility, as well as impacting other muscles and joints.

        What Does Chiropractic Care Treat in Dogs?

        Photo Credit: Pet Medical Center

        Chiropractic manipulation can aid in the treatment of neurologic and biomechanical disorders.  These conditions include degenerative joint diseases like hip dysplasia and spondylosis, cervical instability, acute neck pain, intervertebral disk disease, autonomic nervous system issues like urinary and fecal incontinence, musculoskeletal weakness, or pain that defies conventional diagnosis and treatment, and chronic back and neck pain. It may also be used to prevent disease, maintain fitness or improve performance.

        Is Chiropractic Care Safe?

        While seeing a canine chiropractor for your pet’s back condition might be beneficial, there are certain hazards that owners should be aware of. The first is that there is continuous disagreement in the medical world over whether chiropractic therapy is genuinely beneficial; while the technique has grown in popularity in recent decades, some business owners may prefer to use more traditional approaches. Second, there’s a chance that chiropractic manipulation of the spine will worsen rather than alleviate an issue. As a result, it is critical that business owners conduct thorough research before selecting a chiropractor to ensure that the one they select will provide the highest quality care.

        Is Chiropractic Care Effective?

        While there is considerable controversy about the validity of chiropractic therapy as a medical treatment in both humans and animals, there is a substantial amount of research to back up proponents’ assertions that it is an effective technique to treat spinal disorders. It’s also worth remembering that the treatment is typically delivered in the form of long-term therapy delivered over a number of sessions, so although some patients may see instant results, others may need more time. Treatment of the disease or injury with analgesics or conventional physiotherapy are two alternatives to chiropractic therapy.

        What Happens During a Chiropractic Session?

        When a dog is taken to a chiropractic clinic or rehab facility, the chirpporactor will usually ask the owner about the dog’s health and history. They will usually asking more questions about the dog’s lifestytyle and any other problems the dog is presenting. Then, the dog will be treated a chiropractic adjustment using direct pressure. This usually lasts about 15-30 minutes.

        How to Find a Canine Chiropractor?

        You usually need a referral from your primary veterinarian to a chiropractor. In order to comprehend the biomechanics and neuromusculoskeletal function differences between humans and animals, chiropractors who work with animals must be well-versed in both chiropractic theory and animal anatomy. In North America, a certification process exists to ensure that practitioners have the appropriate knowledge and experience to treat animals.The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association is responsible for this certification, and its members are classified as “Animal Chiropractor,” “Veterinarian Certified in Animal Chiropractic,” or “Veterinary Chiropractor,” depending on their level of training. Certified Animal Chiropractors may be allowed to administer treatments without supervision in some North American jurisdictions; in other jurisdictions, chiropractors must be supervised by licensed veterinarians.

        How Much Does Chiropractic Care Cost for Dogs?

        The cost of chiropractic therapy varies greatly based on where you live and the age, health, and behavioral disposition of the dog in question. The majority of owners, however, may expect to pay between $50 and $200 per session for chiropractic therapy. This is similar to traditional physiotherapy, albeit some types of physiotherapy might be significantly more expensive if specialist equipment is necessary.

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        Canine Total Hip Replacement Surgery

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          ​​What is Total Hip Replacement Surgery in Dogs?

          x ray of dog before and after total hip replacement
          Photo Credit: Animal Surgical and Orthopedic Center

          A total hip replacement (THR) in dogs is a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of a severely damaged or diseased hip joint with an artificial component. Total hip replacement is a surgical treatment for treating severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations. THR is widely regarded as safe and effective, with a high likelihood of significantly increasing limb function and enhancing their quality of life.

          What Makes a Dog A Good Candidate For Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

          Dogs who are suffering from severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations that cannot be resolved aside from THR and are in a measurable amount of pain are usually those that received a THR. Dogs need to be in overall good health as well as have no other joint or bone issues, nerve damage/disease, or other medical illnesses. Dogs who receive THR need to be skeletally mature and finished growing which is usually between 9-12 months old. X-rays will also reveal if the size of the bones can fit a prosthesis. THR surgery is usually done on dogs over 40 pounds.

          Are There Any Risks With Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

          husky recovering from total hip replacement surgery
          Photo Credit: UC Davis

          Any type of anesthetic or operation comes with its own set of hazards. These dangers will be discussed with you by your veterinarian or orthopedic surgeon. In dogs, the reported complication rate after total hip replacement is between 7% and 12%. It is crucial to identify and treat issues as soon as possible after a complete hip replacement. Swelling at the incision site (seroma) or a low-grade infection of the skin around the incision are examples of mild complications. However, there are three significant problems that might result in the hip replacement failing and requiring further surgery.

          Impact Infection

          As with any infection, an infection of the impact is something that should be taken very seriously. While skin or wound infections may be able to be controlled with antibiotics, infections of the actual implants require the implant being removed and replaced.

          Implant Loosening

          There’s a possibility of the implants losing due to either “aspect loosening” or low-grade infection. Aspect loosening is when the patient’s body rejects the implant and occurs in about 5-15% of cases. If aspect loosening occurs, the implant needs to be removed and/or replaced. 

          Luxation or Dislocation of the Implants

          Luxation or dislocation of the implants is fairly rare is occurs in only about 2-4% of patients and usually within the first 3 weeks post-surgery. If this happens, another surgery under anesthesia will be required to fix it.

          What Happens During Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

          Vets performing total hip replacement on a dog
          Photo Credit: Fitzpatrick Referrals

          THR surgery for severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations surgery is a multi-day process. To prepare for general anesthesia, most dogs getting a complete hip replacement will have a comprehensive examination and a blood test profile. 

          Total hip replacement surgery takes two to three hours on average, and your dog may need to stay in the hospital for one to three days afterward. A 12-week recuperation time is expected. Even though your dog’s hip dysplasia affects both hips, surgery on one hip at a time is possible, providing 3 to 6 months of healing time in between procedures.

          During the actual surgery, the ball (head of the femur) and socket (acetabulum) are removed and replaced with prosthetic implants. The acetabular socket will be rebuilt and equipped with a polyethylene cup, while the stem and ball are constructed of cobalt-chromium. Bone cement may or may not be used to hold the implants in place, depending on the implant type chosen by the surgeon for your pet.

          Around 90% to 95% of dogs that receive a complete hip replacement perform really well and have outstanding function. Every operation has some risk, but your dog’s surgeon will do all in his power to avoid any complications. Hip dislocation, implant loosening, infection, and nerve injury are all rare problems that can typically be easily addressed.

          How Do You Care for a Dog Post-Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

          dog on a walk after total hip replacement surgery
          Photo Credit: A Veterinarian's Perspective

          When dogs are released from the hospital a few days after having total hip replacement surgery, it’s crucial to ensure proper healing. Stitches or staples will usually be removed in 10-14 days following surgery. Your veterinarian will also provide a pain management regimen which might include pain medication and crate rest or confined to a small area during recovery for about 3 months. While dogs are usually able to bear weight on the limb fairly soon after surgery, their activity must be closely monitored and activity limited to being on a leash when not in confinement to prevent over-exertion. Each veterinarian will provide their own post-op instructions and they should be followed as closely as possible for best results.

          How Much Does Total Hip Replacement Surgery Cost?

          Due to the involvement and difficulty of canine total hip replacement surgery, it comes out to being one of the most expensive veterinary surgeries. It comes out on average to being $3,500 to $7,000 per hip or if both hips need to be replaced (which is often the case), the cost runs on average $7,000 to $14,000. This is an instance when having pet insurance can offset the high cost.

          How Can Total Hip Replacement Surgery Be Prevented?

          Preventing total hip replacements comes with preventing the reason for needing the surgery. So essentially working to prevent hip dysplasia and severe arthritis. One way to stay on top of the causes that result in THR is having regularly scheduled vet appointments.

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          Antibiotics for Dogs

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            What Are Antibiotics?

            Antibiotics are one of the most commonly recommended treatments for dogs that are used to treat bacterial infections. Infections that they treat include infections of the skin, mouth, eyes, ears, urinary tract, lungs, and other organs. They can also be used to prevent infections in high-risk situations, such as after a big incision or abdominal surgery. Antibiotics come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as distinct classifications. Each class fights microorganisms in a different way.

            How do Antibiotics Work?

            Bacterial antibiotics target your dog’s harmful cells while leaving the healthy ones alone. Antibiotics may prevent bacteria from building cell walls, stopping them from reproducing, depending on the treatment. Antibiotics can also starve bacteria by preventing them from converting glucose to energy, which is essential for all living cells.

            What Are the Side Effects of Antibiotics in Dogs?

            Antibiotics can come with a variety of side effects ranging from mild to severe. It’s important to take note of any side effects of antibiotics your dog may be experiencing during treatment and report it to the prescribing veterinarian. Side effects of antibiotics include:

            Allergic Reaction

            While allergic reactions can happen, they are more on the uncommon side for dogs but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. They may occur immediately after taking (anaphylaxis) them or later on. If your dog is showing any signs of an allergic reaction, it’s best to stop the medication immediately and take them to the vet or emergency vet depending on the severity. It’s important to take note of the signs of an allergic reaction:

            • Swelling of face or muzzle
            • Seizures
            • Skin rash or hives
            • Difficulty breathing
            • Vomiting
            • Diarrhea
            • Excessive salivation

            Gastrointestinal Problems

            Gastrointestinal problems are a common side effect of antibiotics. This includes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. These commonly occur within the first few days of taking the medication. GI problems may be helped with taking food with antibiotics.

            Antibiotic Resistance

            The chance of antibiotic resistance is why most vets and human doctors prescribe antibiotics with caution as overuse can deem the body resistant to antibiotics.  It happens when germs grow resistant to the antibiotics used to kill them. As the germs multiply, the illness worsens and becomes more difficult to cure. Vets try to prevent this by prescribing the most appropriate antibiotic for the bacterium, selecting the appropriate dose, and advising on the optimum treatment duration. This is why, even if your dog looks to be getting better, it’s vital to stick to the antibiotic treatment plan.

            Microbiome Imbalance

            Antibiotics can kill healthy bacteria in the body. The essential bacterial microbes in a dog’s body, such as in the GI tract and skin, play an important role in maintaining the body’s homeostasis. They improve the dog’s immune system, digestion, and even the production of important vitamins and minerals. To help counteract this, your veterinarian may suggest probiotic supplements.

            Neurological Issues

            Certain antibiotics, such as Metronidazole can induce ataxia (drunk gait), dilated pupils, head tilt to one side, nystagmus (involuntary fast eye movement), and even seizures in certain dogs.

            What are the Different Types of Antibiotic Medications for Dogs and What Do They Treat?

            Antibiotics are not one-size-fits-all. Different types of antibiotics are used to treat different things. So what are the different types of antibiotics and what conditions do they treat?


            Amoxicillin (Amoxil®, Amoxi-Tabs®, Amoxi-Drop®, Bimox®, Moxatag®, Novamoxin®) is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that belongs to the aminopenicillin family and is used to treat bacterial infections. It’s most typically used to treat infections of the skin, lungs, and urinary tract.


            Metronidazole (Flagyl®) is an antibacterial and antiprotozoal antibiotic that is used to treat anaerobic bacterial and protozoal illnesses including Giardia and Trichomonas. It’s a common treatment for diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. It’s use to treat Giardia is considered off-label.


            Clindamycin (Antirobe®, Cleocin®, ClinDrops®, Clintabs®) is an antibiotic used in dogs and cats to treat a variety of bacterial illnesses. Wounds, pyoderma, abscesses, bone, and dental diseases, and toxoplasmosis are all common uses. Its use to treat toxoplasmosisis and some other infections is considered off-label.

            Amoxicillin-Clavulanic Acid

            Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (Clavamox®), often known as amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium, is a synthetic penicillin-type antibiotic that is used to treat infections caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It’s used to treat infections of the skin and soft tissues, as well as periodontal (gum) disease. The clavulanic acid has been added to the amoxicillin to protect it against enzymes that may break down the antibiotic before it can kill the bacteria.


            Enrofloxacin (Baytril®) is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections.


            Gentamicin (Gentocin®, Genoptic®, Gentak®) is used to treat and prevent bacterial infections in dogs and cats, including respiratory infections, wound infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections, bladder infections, and skin and ear infections.

            Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim

            Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim (brand names: Co-trimoxazole®, Primsol®, Bactrim®, Sulfatrim®, Novo-Trimel®, Septra®) is a mixture of antibiotics that act together to treat infections. Sulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim is commonly used to treat infections of the urinary system, skin, respiratory tract, and digestive tract as well as ear infections, kennel cough, coccidiosis, and pneumonia.


            Doxycycline (Vibramycin®, Oracea®, Monodox®, Periostat®, Doryx®, Acticlate®) is an antibiotic that can be used to treat bacterial infections in dogs. It’s a broad-spectrum antibiotic, meaning it can combat a variety of bacteria. Tick-borne disorders such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and ehrlichiosis are commonly treated with the drug in dogs. It is also used to fight heartworm disease and periodontal (tooth and gum) disease in small animals.


            Cephalexin (Rilexine®, Keflex®, Vetolexin®)  belongs to a class of antibiotics called  first-generation cephalosporin. It’s used to treat multiple infections in dogs including skin and soft tissue infections, bone infections, respiratory tract infections, ear infections, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). It’s effective against many different bacterias including E. coli. 

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            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.