Dog eye closeup. Photography ©Vulkanov | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Entropion in Dogs — Know the Signs and How to Treat It

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Entropion is a disorder that causes the eyelids to roll inward toward the eye. It can affect the upper eyelid, lower eyelid or both eyelids. One or both eyes can be affected. The abnormal position of the eyelid causes the hair or eyelashes to rub against the eye itself. This is extremely uncomfortable for the dog — think of how it feels to have just one tiny eyelash rubbing against your eye. Now imagine an entire eyelid full of lashes rubbing against your eye — ouch! Even worse, with entropion in dogs, the lashes or hairs can damage the eye itself, causing scratches, scarring and even perforation. Over time, this damage can become severe, compromising your dog’s eyes and eyesight.

What Is Entropion in Dogs?

A closeup of a dog eye.
Entropion in dogs causes the eyelid to roll inward toward the eye. Photography ©fotokate | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Entropion in dogs is usually a congenital disorder, meaning the dog is born with it. This type of entropion (called conformational entropion) has a genetic component, so it’s seen more frequently in certain breeds, including Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds, Boxers, Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chinese Shar-Peis, Chow Chows, Cocker Spaniels, Mastiffs, Pekingese, Poodles (Toy and Miniature), Pugs, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards and Shih Tzus, just to name a few.

Another common type of entropion in dogs is spastic entropion (muscle spasms cause the eyelids to rub against the eye). This type of entropion often correlates to other eye issues, which are typically painful, like a foreign body in the eye or injury or damage to the cornea. Spastic entropion is resolved using topical anesthetics to stop the spasms, followed by treatment of the underlying eye issue that’s causing the spasms. There are a few other causes of entropion in dogs, but they are much rarer.

What Are the Signs of Entropion in Dogs?

According to Nancy Bromberg VMD, MS, Dipl. ACVO, a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist at VCA SouthPaws in Fairfax, Virginia, some signs of entropion in dogs include:

  1. Discomfort
  2. Tearing
  3. Mucoid discharge
  4. Pawing or rubbing at the eyes
  5. Recurrent corneal ulcers (scratches and cuts to the cornea of the eye).

You might also see squinting or excessive blinking, eye tics or redness.

Can Entropion in Dogs Be Treated?

Luckily, conformational entropion in dogs can be treated. Eye drops or ointment are generally prescribed to protect the eye from rubbing and to relieve pain and discomfort. “In young dogs (less than 3 to 4 months), temporary tacking of the eyelids may relieve discomfort and secondary spastic components,” Dr. Bromberg says.

Sometimes, puppies grow out of entropion as they finish growing and developing. Temporarily stitching the eyelids into a normal position alleviates the discomfort and prevents damage to the eye as you wait to see if the puppy will outgrow the condition.

Surgery for Entropion in Dogs

Outgrowing entropion is rare, though. Most often, entropion in dogs requires permanent, surgical correction to reconstruct the eyelids. Your regular vet may do the procedure or you can ask for a referral to a veterinary ophthalmologist, who does such procedures regularly.

“When young dogs have surgical correction, some ‘fine tuning’ of the correction is necessary once the head conformation matures,” Dr. Bromberg says. “Most veterinary ophthalmologists would rather under correct entropion than over correct, causing lid laxity [looseness], so occasionally additional surgery is needed. In most cases, surgical correction is permanent.”

What About Ectropion in Dogs?

A related condition called ectropion caused the eyelids to roll outward. Although it doesn’t cause hair or lashes to rub against the eye, ectropion leaves too much of the eye exposed, leaving it vulnerable to irritation and injury from debris getting into the eye.

Thumbnail: Photography ©Vulkanov | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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15 thoughts on “Entropion in Dogs — Know the Signs and How to Treat It”

  1. I have an appointment to have the surgery done for my chihuahua. $1,200. Looking into other animal hospital to see if we can have it done for much less.

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  10. Pingback: Entropion in Dogs — Know the Signs and How to Treat It – dogcaz.com

  11. It would be helpful to actually see a dog with this eye condition. I have a 4 year old Shihpoo and wondering if she has this eye condition bcuz her eyes are constantly teary and I make sure her fur around her eyes are cut short to prevent from going into her eyes but her eyes still waters.

    1. Hi Helen,

      This article might help further: https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/dog-eye-discharge-whats-normal-and-whats-not
      We also suggest taking your dog to the vet. Hope she feels better!

    2. If the symptoms they list are happening to your dog it probably has this, and the dog-brown dog in photo does have it . Basically the dogs eyelashes do not go up and out and either you can’t see them or they go down it really isnt a very noticeable condition but your dog will have wet eyes often may even paw at the eyes. my saint did this at 3-6 months thought it was cute had no idea till the vet noticed. it’s important to get drops or ointment for puppies to prevent scratching the eye and recheck at a year to consult a opthomologist vet they do have these vets . We have amazing vets now who specialize in that and surgery it’s amazing, one such great organization is Blue Pearl vet hospital . I know they are in Texas look up their web site for more Info. Look up vet opthomologists in your state it should give you a list. Also just another plug but anyone who has time or the money take your dog to service training big and volunteer your dog to go to pediatric floors and nursing homes for visits the sick need affection love and companionships dogs have been show to decrease anxiety stress help people open up in therapy and are great for wounded warriors just to name a few and if your a parent and are a neat freak throw your cares to the world and get a dog for your child they need a life long friend to hug hold care for and tell all their stories to. God bless to all who read this Jesus is the reason for the season.

    3. My dogs vet gave her calc 30 homeopathic med by boiron 2 doese (one a day at night before bed) dissolve in a little water in a syringe and give (do not toilet med) that help tremendously. I also know rhat borax 30 (given the same way)
      also gets rid of it. If u can find a homeopathic vet that would be best.
      Please update us/

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