- Entropion is often a genetic condition and can occur within a few months of birth. Dogs of some breeds can develop entropion at young ages due to growth spurts. Entropion can also occur later in a dog's life due to a variety of health issues including spasms, infection, injury, loss of neurological function of the eyelids or enophthalmos, which is a condition in which the eye moves backward into the head (recedes).
- Entropion may be difficult for dog owners to recognize, especially if they have not heard of the condition or do not closely examine their dogs' eyes to discover any abnormalities. You may notice that your dog is frequently tearing, squinting or having difficultly seeing. There may also be a thick discharge present around the eyes. Some dogs will rub at their eyes with their paws or rub their faces against furniture. You may or may not be able to see the eyelid's inward rolling. If any of these symptoms occur, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
- Canine entropion is diagnosed through an ocular (eye) examination. This may include an assessment of the eyelid's position before and after a local anesthetic solution is used. While examining the eyes, the veterinarian may also discover that the dog has abnormally placed or ingrown eyelashes, which can be partly to blame for the affected dog's discomfort. Since the eyelashes and eyelid rub directly against the eye, the veterinarian will also look for corneal ulcers. A special dye known as fluorescein dye is used to detect damage present on the cornea.
Puppy Treatment Options
- Since entropion can occur while a puppy is still young, surgical correction may not be an ideal option. With some breeds, such as the Shar-Pei, entropion can occur soon after the puppy opens its eyes. This is usually due to the growth rate of the dog. Temporary sutures to pull the eyelid outward are often beneficial in this situation. The sutures are usually put into place for a week to 10 days. After this period, the sutures are usually removed and the entropion may have resolved itself.
- Entropion in an adult canine eye requires surgical correction, known as blepharoplasty. In this surgery, the excess facial skin is removed and the eyelid skin is tightened. Seek out a veterinarian who specializes in eye surgeries or has a good track record of successful blepharoplasties if your dog requires this surgery. Improper surgical treatment can result in an eyelid that does not fully close. This can lead to a lifetime of eye issues for the affected dog, additional surgeries to correct the condition or medication to protect the dog's eyes for the rest of its life.