Entropion in Dogs: Eyelids Folding Inward

Entropion in dogs occurs when the edges of the eyelid roll inward. Entropion is an inherited disorder that usually occurs in young puppies only a few months old. However, it can occur later in life. Entropion usually affects the lower eyelids more than the upper eyelids.

Risk Factors for Entropion Development

Entropion is a genetic disorder that causes a dog's eyelids to roll inward at the edges. This disorder usually appears in puppies, though it can develop in older dogs as well. Breeds vulnerable to entropion include the Labrador Retriever, Chow Chow, English Bulldog, Irish setter, St. Bernard, Great Dane and Chinese Shar-Pei.

Entropion can occur in older dogs as a result of eye disease. The pain and spasms associated with many eye diseases can cause changes in the eyelids. Injury to the eye or infection of the eye can contribute to entropion. Abnormal eyelashes and corneal ulcers can contribute to entropion as well.

Consequences of Entropion

When entropion occurs, the edge of the eyelid rolls inward. Since fur grows on the outside of your dog's eyelid, when the eyelid rolls inward your dog's fur rubs constantly against his cornea. This can cause great pain and damage to the eye.

Entropion occurs most often in the lower eyelids of both eyes, but it can affect the upper eyelids as well. Some dogs may experience ectropion, or outward rolling of the eyelid, as well. These dogs may have eyelids that roll inward at some points and outward at others.

Symptoms of Entropion

The primary symptom of entropion is inward rolling of the eyelid. The affected eyelid will be wet around the edges. Your dog may squint excessively and his eyes may water. Your dog may rub his eyes frequently and experience a thick, mucousy eye discharge.

Diagnosing Entropion

Your vet should be able to diagnose entropion via a physical examination. The eyelids will be visibly rolled under. An eye exam may reveal ingrown eyelashes or abnormal hair growth on the eye. Your vet will also check for corneal ulcers.

Treating Entropion in Dogs

If your dog develops entropion, he'll need surgery to treat it. Make sure your dog receives this surgery from a vet who has plenty of experience in correcting entropion, since an improperly performed surgery can also have serious consequences for the health of your dog's eyes.

Surgical procedures for the treatment of entropion vary depending on the affected dog's age and the severity of the condition. Young dogs may need a procedure known as eyelid tacking to turn the eyelids outward and hold them in place as the dog grows. This procedure is used most often in dogs who display entropion from the time they first open their eyes. Dogs this young grow so quickly that eyelid tacking is often very effective in eliminating entropion.

In older dogs, surgery may involve removing skin from the eyelid near the eyelid margin. This procedure returns the lid to a normal position and can permanently restore function to the lid.