We all have seen dogs that look like they have too much skin on them, right? Skin that even pretty much closes their eyes and limits the dog’s sight. And as a result of that excessive skin, the dog seems to always have itchy eyes that are red and watery. So, why is this happening?
What is entropion in dogs?
Entropion is a condition that affects one but typically both eyelids of the dog and it causes them to roll inward, towards the eye. This leads to constant rubbing of the eye lashes on the cornea, leading to further damage. If entropion is not treated on time, it can lead to development of corneal ulcer, which is a painful and hard to heal condition for the dog.
Entropion is usually related with specific breeds, meaning that it can be more commonly seen in some, while others are not that much affected. For example, dogs that are short-nosed, such as the bulldogs, boxers or pugs, are known to be more prone to entropion development. Giant breeds, such as the great danes, bullmastifs or saint bernards, have ligaments around the outer corner of the eye that are more loose, which leads to entropion.
But, this condition can also develop secondary to other eye problems. Scarring of the eyelids, some sort of nerve damage or infection, are one of the many reasons for the eyelids to turn towards the cornea.
What are the signs of entropion in dogs?
Many owners will notice that their dog is rubbing their eyes constantly, like trying to get out something that is stuck inside. As a result of the constant scratching, the eyes may be red and irritated and many times there is more pronounced tear production, which makes the eye watery and everything around the eye is almost always wet. This wet situation is often a great place for bacteria to grow, which is why some owners may notice even yellowish to greenish discharge around the eye. If the damage to the cornea is already present, then owners notice a change in the dog’s eye that seems to be bluish.
How do vets diagnose dogs that have entropion?
Every examination starts with talking to the owner, where vets learn what changes owners have noticed in their dogs. After the vet is certain that he has all the information needed, he then goes to do a physical examination. Even though vets know about the problem with the eyes, they always do a thorough check, because you never know what lies hidden beneath! When the physical examination is over, the vet will then proceed to check the eyes themself.
Using special equipment, called an ophthalmoscope, he looks inside the eye and checks to see if there are any visible changes in the color of the lens or the cornea. He may then use a special color, called fluorescein, that helps him visualize any corneal ulcers.
My dog has entropion, how is it treated?
In most cases, if the cause for entropion is secondary, the vet will treat the primary reason for the condition. Once that is treated, the dog should feel much better.
In cases where entropion is breed related, the only way for treatment is surgery. Blepharoplasty is the surgical procedure that describes the correction of the eyelids. However, it is important to have in mind that this procedure is only performed on fully grown dogs, meaning that puppies that still go through changes can’t be operated on. This is something that is often seen in the breed shar pei.
The success of surgery mainly depends on the knowledge and skill of the surgeon. This is why, most of the time, patients are referred to an ophthalmologist, as they are the most qualified. Recocurance is quate rare, but it has been in the shar pei breed.
The owners usually pay between $500 and $1500, for both eyes. Prices of course may vary depending who and where the procedure is done.