Ectropion in Dogs

If your dog's lower eyelid seems to roll outward and expose the inner portion of the lid, it's likely that he's suffering from ectropion. This condition is relatively common among dogs and results in a number of potential complications to your pet's eyes. While it's more common in certain breeds due to head shape and musculature than in other breeds, it is nonetheless a problem that can affect almost any dog. Read on for a brief overview of this condition, as well as how to diagnose and treat it.

Causes of Ectropion

In addition to breed-specific causes like head shape, there are a number of potential reasons why you're pet may suffer from ectropion. These include the following:

  • Sudden loss of weight
  • Eyelid injury or surgery
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Persistent or chronic irritation

In many cases, a number of these factors may combine in order to cause your pet's ectropion. The condition can be made worse or exacerbated by the addition of more of these factors.

Symptoms of Ectropion

The primary symptom of ectropion is one that you'll be able to see when examining your pet's face and eyes. You'll notice one or more of his eyelids rolling outward away from the eye and exposing the pink or red area underneath the surface of the lid and above the third eyelid. You may also see that your pet has some mucus-like discharge from his eye as well. It's not uncommon for swelling and some redness to appear in addition to these other symptoms as well.

Diagnosing Ectropion

The best way to diagnose ectropion is to take your pet in to the vet. In most cases, your vet will ask for a history of the symptoms that you've noticed and a description of what you've noticed, so come prepared with that information available if you have it. Your vet will then proceed to examine your pet's eyes and look for signs of eyelid muscle strength loss or other contributing factors as well. The diagnosis is typically done visually.

Treating Ectropion

If your pet's case of ectropion is mild in nature, your vet will likely recommend that you pay careful attention to his eye and ensure that it stays clean and free of infection. This requires regular hygienic attention. If the case is more serious, however, you may need to take further action. Your pet may suffer from corneal damage or dry eyes as a result of the condition; in these cases, it's important that you give him regular eye drops to help lubricate his eye and prevent damage to his vision.

In extreme cases of ectropion, your vet may recommend a minor surgery in order to adjust the facial muscles around the eye and to strengthen the lid. This surgery is mild in scope but may still be somewhat expensive, and it's therefore typically reserved for the most extreme cases of ectropion only.

For more information about this condition, consult with your veterinarian.