Some dog breeds tend to have droopy lower eyelids, which many pet owners adore. The more severe cases, called ectropion, can make your dog more vulnerable to a variety of painful eye conditions. Our South Florida veterinarians discuss the complications of ectropion in dogs today.
Your Dog's Eyes
There are a variety of eye conditions dogs can develop that can lead to eye or sight damage. Because our pets can't tell us when they're in pain, it is crucial for dog owners to continually check the condition of their dog's eyes and contact their vet if they find itchiness or redness. Early detection and treatment of eye problems can help to prevent more serious problems down the line.
If your dog has droopy eyes, keep monitoring their eye health.
What is ectropion in dogs?
Ectropion is a condition in which a dog's lower eyelid rolls down and away from the eye. The resulting droopy appearance exposes the delicate mucous membrane or 'conjunctiva' in the eye. While many modern dogs have been selectively bred to have the droopy-eyed appearance, the condition ectropion can also be caused by a variety of health issues such as nerve damage, infection, injury, or severe chronic inflammation of the eye.
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 does ectropion in dogs look 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 a 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.
How is ectropion treated in dogs?
In dogs that have not been bred to have ectropion, it is necessary to determine the underlying cause of their droopy-eyed appearance and treat any uncomfortable symptoms.
Lubricating eye drops or ointments may be prescribed to help prevent the cornea and conjunctiva from drying out, but 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. Surgery is only typically recommended when the ectropion excessively affects the dog or is worsening their vision.
What is the prognosis for dogs with ectropion?
If your dog's lower eyelids are droopy, you'll have to take care of their eyes. Without taking proper care, your pet will likely 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.