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Ectropion and Entropion In Dogs: Eyelid Problems Common in Some Breeds

A Closer Look At Eye Conditions In Some Breeds

By Madeleine Burry. March 13, 2014 | See Comments

A Sad Looking Dog

Ectropion and Entropion are two similar eye conditions that have been found in particular dog breeds. Learn more here about both the differences and similarities of these conditions and the various treatment options that are available.

Ectropion and entropion in dogs are both conditions that can affect a dog’s eyelids. They have opposite symptoms: dogs who have ectropion have eyelids that roll outward, whereas dogs with entropion have eyelids that curve inward. Both eyelid changes are problematic for the cornea: with entropion, the lid rubs against the cornea, causing irritation; and with ectropion, the cornea is exposed and can easily become irritated. Discover more about why these conditions occur, their symptoms, and treatment options.

Causes of Ectropion and Entropion in Dogs

Both of these eye conditions are heavily linked to genetic factors, and some breeds are predisposed. Entropion is common among Retrievers, Spaniels, Great Danes, many terriers, and Bulldogs. Among others, the following breeds are prone to developing ectropion: Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, Retrievers, Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, and Bloodhounds. Often, when the conditions are inherited, the symptoms are seen when dogs are a year or younger.

Other causes of ectropion include trauma to the eye, complications from treatment of entropion, and fatigue. It can also be a result of hypothyroidism. Entropion can occur as the result of other diseases, as well as genetic causes.

Symptoms

With both ectropion and entropion, you’ll observe that your dog’s eyes appear red and irritated. The main observable symptom will be the dog’s eyelids: if they curve inward, this is a symptom of entropion, and if they curve outward, this is a symptom of ectropion.

Other symptoms of ectropion include discharge, watery eyes, and conjunctivitis. With entropion, some of the common symptoms are watery eyes, conjunctivitis, and pain, which will result in the dog rubbing at their eyes with their paws. Watch also for the hairs by the eye to be wet and matted down as a result of the excessive tearing and discharge.

Treatment Options

Ectropion is the more mild condition, and can often be managed with eye drops, which keep the eye moist, and ointments. In some severe cases, surgery may be helpful in correcting the problem.

Entropion can be treated with surgery, with ointments and drops often used both before and after. The surgery will remove part of the eyelid, tightening it so that it will fit properly, and not roll outward. Note that one of the big risks of this surgery is removing too much tissue, causing ectropion to develop. Often, the surgery will be done in two phases to prevent that outcome.

With both entropion and ectropion, the prognosis for the dog post-treatment is very good.

More on Eye Care

Cat And Dog Eye Care Buying Guide
What Causes Cherry Eye In Dogs And Cats?
Dealing With Your Dog's Dry Eye

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Ectropion and Entropion at a glance

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  • 1Both ectropion and entropion lead to a dog’s eyelids failing to adequately protect the cornea.
  • 2As well as changes to the dog’s eyelid, common symptoms include tearing, discharge, conjunctivitis, and rubbin
  • 3These two conditions are more common in some breeds than others.
  • 4With prompt treatment, the prognosis for both conditions is generally positive, though in some cases, symptoms