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There are several
eyelid disorders in dogs. Entropian (rolling inwards), and ectropian
(drooping or rolling outward) are the most common.
Although they are abnormal eyelid conformations, they are
characteristic of many breeds. For example, droopy lower eyelids (ectropion)
are usually present in Basset hounds and other hound breeds. Shar Peis
and Chow Chows, in which breeding selection has been made for numerous
facial wrinkles, has led to turning in of the eyelids (both upper and
lower in many cases).
Ectropian, unless very
pronounced, does not lead to severe diseases of the eye itself. However,
the droopy eyelid may collect debris such as dust, pollen and plant
material from the environment. This can cause ocular irritation that
leads to watering and a red eye. This is particularly pronounced in
hunting dogs or dogs that are outdoors much of the time. Dogs that have
ectropion must be watched carefully by their owners for possible foreign
bodies in their eyes, and the dogs' eyes must be cleaned and often
medicated on a regular basis. Ectropian is also surgically correctable
for the health of the dog.
Entropion on the other
hand frequently causes ocular pain and corneal disease. If the eyelid is
rolled inward sufficiently so that the hairs of the eyelid rub on the
eye, much damage may be done. Dogs with entropion usually squint and
have watery eyes. If the entropion is not corrected and the rubbing
continues, ulcers often develop on the cornea and the cornea becomes
pigmented. Vision may be lost.
Entropian is a very
painful disorder for the dog, requiring delicate surgery to prevent eye
damage. With an Entropian eye, the eyelids may roll in as early as 8 -
10 weeks or could roll in between 4 to 6 months, however this can occur
even when the dog is a year of age or older.
Entropian starts as Intermittent Entropian (with the eyelids sometimes
positioned normally), advances to Entropian, and requires surgery.
Either upper or lower lids may be involved, or a combination of both.
Most often both eyes are affected.
Permanent treatment for
entropion requires a surgical procedure to remove a narrow segment of
skin and muscle from the eyelid with stitches used to evert the eyelid
to a normal position. The sutures are removed in 2 weeks. In breeds
where entropion is accompanied by heavy face folds, or in cases where
surgery is necessary before a dog is fully mature, it is not unusual for
more than one surgical procedure to be required.
Entropion and ectropion
are hereditary disorders in many breeds. But, their mode of inheritance
is complex. No one gene controls the development of eyelid conformation.
Instead, it is a combination of genes that control eyelid size and
shape, depth of the eye socket, size and shape of the eyes, head
conformation and amount of facial skin. All of these genes work together
to determine the relationship of the eyelids to the eye.
If an eyelid conformation defect is to be eliminated, only those dogs without entropion or ectropin should be bred.
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