Do you have a young dog whose eyelids have begun to droop and turn to the inside? This condition is known as entropion. It can occur in any dog breed, but it's especially common in breeds with flat faces and short noses, such as cocker spaniels, pugs, and bichons. Here's a closer look at the condition and what you can do about it.
What problems does entropion cause?
There are many so-called deformities that are just visually unappealing but otherwise do no harm to pets. This is not one of them. Entropion, if left untreated, can lead to eye irritation, scratched corneas, and even loss of the eye should that scratched cornea become infected. This is partially because once the eyelid starts rolling inward, the eyelashes often rub on the inside of the eye. Also, with the eyelid drooping, the part of the eye sometimes remains exposed even when your dog "shuts" his eyes – so dust and debris can easily blow in and cause irritation.
What causes entropion?
It's usually genetic. If your dog's parents had entropion, he is at a higher risk of it. You may not know that a dog's parents had this disease even if you saw them before you purchased or adopted your dog. The condition becomes obvious when a dog is young, and the issue is then surgically corrected, so by the time your dog's parents were bred, the signs would not be obvious. If your dog has this condition, it will become obvious in the first year or so of his life. It won't just appear out of the blue when he's all grown up.
What can be done about entropion?
As referenced above, it can be repaired surgically. So contact your vet ASAP if you begin noticing that your dog's lower eyelids are sagging. The surgery is simple and straightforward. The eyelid will be rolled outward and secured in place with a stitch or a few stitches. In the meantime, you may have to put antibiotic eye drops in your dog's eyes in order to prevent infections until the surgery can be performed . If you notice overt signs of infection (like pus or extreme redness) in a dog with entropion, treat this like an emergency situation – your dog could lose the eye if the infection is not treated.
If your dog's lower eyelids look abnormal, don't panic. This is a common deformity, albeit one you don't want to ignore. For more information, contact a business such as Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital.