Ectropion is the condition that causes some dog breeds to have sad droopy lower eyelids that can make your dog more vulnerable to a variety of painful eye conditions. Today, our Renton veterinarians discuss the complications of ectropion in dogs.
Your Dog's Eyes
Dogs, like people, can develop a variety of eye conditions that can be painful and result in vision loss. Because our pets can't tell us when they're in pain, it's critical to monitor the condition of your dog's eyes and contact your veterinarian if your dog's eyes appear to be red, itchy, or painful. Early detection and treatment of eye problems can help to prevent more serious problems from developing.
If your dog has droopy eyes, it is essential to monitor the health of your dog's eyes and contact your vet at the first sign of problems.
What Ectropion in Dogs Is
Ectropion is a condition in which your dog's lower eyelid rolls away from the eye, resulting in a droopy appearance and exposing the delicate mucous membrane or conjunctiva, which is not meant to be exposed. While many modern dogs have been selectively bred to have the droopy-eyed appearance that ectropion brings, the condition can also be caused by a variety of health issues such as nerve damage, infection, injury, or severe chronic inflammation of the eye.
Regardless of whether your pet has been bred with ectropion or whether it is the result of an underlying health issue, once the eyelid has rolled away from its natural protective position the dog becomes more susceptible to painful conditions such as pink eye (conjunctivitis), corneal inflammation (keratitis), corneal scarring and possible visual impairment.
What Ectropion Looks Like
Many modern dog breeds, including bloodhounds, chow chows, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, and Bullmastiffs, have been selectively bred with ectropion. Ectropion is a condition in which the lower eyelid sags or rolls outward. In many cases, you may also notice discharge or a red and inflamed conjunctiva lining of the eyelid.
If ectropion is uncomfortable for your dog, or if an infection has developed you may notice that your pup is pawing and rubbing at their eye, or the eye might water. Tearing could also lead to brown staining of the fur below the eye.
Treating Ectropion in Dogs
In dogs that have not been bred to have ectropion, it will be necessary to determine the underlying cause, as well as treat any uncomfortable symptoms.
While lubricating eye drops or ointments may be prescribed to help prevent the cornea and conjunctiva from drying out, treatment for ectropion isn't always necessary if the eye remains healthy and the condition is mild.
If a bacterial infection or corneal ulcer has developed your vet will prescribe antibiotic drops to treat the infection.
In dogs with severe cases of ectropion, your veterinary ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to correct the condition.
The Prognosis for Ectropion in Dogs
If your dog's lower eyelids are droopy, you'll have to be extra careful with his or her eyes all of the time. Your pet will almost certainly develop conjunctivitis at some point during his or her life, which will necessitate treatment. However, most dogs with ectropion can live normal, happy lives with the help of lubricating drops and ointments.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.