You know the discomfort a loose eyelash causes in your eye. Imagine how your dog feels if his eyelid rolls inward and those lashes are constantly irritating his cornea. That's entropion in a nutshell, and this genetic disorder can occur in either the upper or lower eyelid. Fortunately, surgery can usually correct the condition. Once corrected, it's unlikely to recur.
It's usually obvious something is bothering your dog's eye if he's affected with entropion. Such dogs might squint, rub the eye with a paw and produce excessive tears. Your dog might develop eye discharge. It's not uncommon for entropion to occur in both eyes. Besides the pain issue, dogs with entropion can develop corneal scarring, causing vision loss. Take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice something amiss with his eye. If your dog is a brachycephalic breed, with a short nose and flat face, symptoms might be less apparent because of the facial structure.
Entropion is generally an inherited disorder. Many of the affected breeds are brachycephalic. These include the bulldog, Shar-Pei, mastiff, Japanese Chin, Pekingese, pug, Lhasa apso and Shih Tzu. Affected non-brachycephalic breeds include the Labrador and golden retriever, pit bull, collie, Saint Bernard, Rhodesian Ridgeback, bloodhound, basset hound, poodle, Pomeranian, Rottweiler, cocker spaniel, Newfoundland and Great Dane. Dogs with entropion should not breed.
Known as blepharoplasty, entropion surgery consists of removing a skin section from the affected eyelid so it no longer rolls inward. Because this surgery sometimes results in an overcorrection that causes the eyelid to roll outward, your dog might require a second surgery once the initial surgery heals. The primary surgery isn't usually performed until the dog is at least 1 year old and fully mature. Affected puppies might have their eyelids "tacked," a temporary suturing of the lids to reverse the inward roll. In many cases, tacking solves the problem and the grown dog doesn't require blepharoplasty.
Your dog must wear an Elizabethan collar, the infamous "cone of shame," while his eyelid heals. His eye might swell up for a few days. The sutures are removed about two weeks post-surgery. Your vet might prescribe topical eyedrops to combat potential infection and relieve discomfort.
By Jane Meggitt
Veterinary Partner: Entropion
North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Entropion
Animal Eye Care: Canine Eyelid Diseases
VCA Animal Hospitals: Eyelid Entropion in Dogs
University of Prince Edward Island: Entropion
About the Author
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.