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Entropion is a painful condition which affects a dog's lower eyelid. It is a genetic condition where the lower eyelid folds inwards so that a dog's eyelashes rub on the surface of their eyeball. Occasionally, the condition can affect a dog's upper lid to a certain extent, but in general it is the lower lid that's affected by the condition the most. Entropion can affect one or both eyes and any dog can suffer from it, although some breeds seem to be more susceptible than others which is why Entropion is thought to be one of the hereditary disorders that can be passed down from parent dogs to their offspring in certain breeds.
The majority of dogs that suffer from the condition will typically squint most of the time because they are in pain. They also typically paw at their eyes which just makes things that much worse. Their eyes become inflamed, very sore and red. It is essential for dogs suspected of suffering from Entropion be taken to see a vet sooner rather than later before they do more damage to an affected eye. Should the condition be left untreated, the hair and eyelashes on a dog's lower eyelid would continually rub on the surface of the eye and this would eventually lead to a dog developing a corneal ulcer or in a worst case scenario, the surface of the eye could well be perforated which makes the condition that much harder to treat.
Lack of any treatment could also see scar tissue forming over a damaged eye which is referred to as Pigmentary Keratitis. Should this happen it could result in a dog's vision being severely impaired and they might even lose the sight in an affected eye altogether. The symptoms to watch out for include the following:
Although any breed of dog could suffer from Entropion, the condition seems to affect certain breeds more than others which includes the following:
A vet would typically diagnose the problem when a dog is around a year old by carrying out a thorough examination of an affected eye. They would treat any secondary issues first which includes prescribing an antibiotic ointment to treat an ulcerated cornea and to control the pain a dog may be experiencing. If the condition is caught early enough, dogs can be given something to lubricate their eyes, but only if the cornea has not already been damaged. With this said, a vet would typically recommend surgery to correct the problem if the condition is not deemed too severe. If it is, they may well suggest more invasive surgery which could include “facial reconstruction” to correct the problem, but this could only be done when a dog reaches maturity.
The primary reason why some breeds are more predisposed to suffering from Entropion has to do with the shape of their face. As such, dogs with short noses are more prone to developing the condition. However, the shape of a dog's nose also plays an important role in whether they would be more predisposed to suffering from the condition too. When it comes to giant breeds, the problem is just the opposite thanks to the fact they have too much slack skin found at the outer corners of their eyes which can lead to the outer edges of their eyelids folding inwards.
Dogs that suffer from conjunctivitis or other eye infections on a regular basis are also more prone to suffering from spastic entropion"" which can then develop into full blown entropion as time goes by.
When a dog develops the condition and a diagnosis has been made, they would need to have lots of follow up examinations and care. A vet would typically want to routinely examine a dog's eyes and to prescribe the correct treatment which could include giving some form of antibiotic together with eye drops or ointments. A vet would also need to repeat certain procedures until a younger dog is old enough to undergo any sort of more invasive surgery. Often dogs with the condition would need to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent them from pawing and scratching at an affected eye which would only make the situation worse.