Is Ectropion in dogs genetic? Here’s What to Do Next

Ectropion treatments

The treatment of this disease is usually very simple when it comes to mild cases. Once diagnosed, a prescription for eye drops or other lubricants is administered to help keep the eyeball moist, which in such cases, it is essential to keep hydrated so that other complications do not appear. Antibiotics are also given for secondary infections.

If the ectropion is caused by another disease, such as hypothyroidism, it should be treated in the same way. Treatment of severe cases of ectropion requires surgery. Whatever the case, the prognosis is positive.

But, in a large percentage of cases, dogs with ectropion will manifest eye problems or a very pronounced eversion. For this reason, it will be more than necessary to do everything possible to try to repair the defect through surgery. The operation, which of course has to be carried out by a veterinary professional, consists of creating a tension in the eyelids.

It is a simple procedure, but it must always be carried out by an ophthalmologist veterinarian or, at least, with ophthalmological experience. This consists of removing a small part of the tissue from the lower eyelid and joining the resulting edges to tighten the area. In this way, the eyelid skin becomes tight again, correcting the defect.

Ectropion vs entropion: what’s the difference?

Due to the similarity of both terms, and since both refer to eye disorders, it is not uncommon for confusion to occur between ectropion and entropion disease. But they are easy conditions to distinguish if you look at the words. Thus, if the ectropion is eversion of the lower eyelid, entropion consists of invagination of the lid margin.

Invaginate refers to the edge of the eyelids turning towards the inside, which can cause damage to the eyeball itself. It can be a very common congenital defect in breeds such as the Chow chow and can even affect both eyelids. It is an ailment that requires surgical intervention.

Problems Associated With Ectropion in Dogs

A normal eyelid protects the eye from injury, keeps the eye clean, provides proper lubrication of the eye and shields the eye from the elements and trauma. A very droopy lower eyelid increases the risk of the eye becoming inflamed, injured or dry.

Ectropion can also lead to conjunctivitis. If the lower lid is saggy, the conjunctiva is exposed and can become inflamed.

Diagnosis is straightforward. Your vet can determine that the eyelid appears longer than normal with a sag in the center, exposing the conjunctiva.

There may be associated conjunctivitis or corneal problems in severe cases of ectropion.

Hereditary ectropion is diagnosed in young dogs whereas acquired ectropion can occur at any age.

  • American and English Cocker Spaniel
  • Basset Hound
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Bloodhound
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Boxer
  • Chow Chow
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Bulldog
  • English Setter
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Gordon Setter
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Leonberger
  • Mastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Some of these breeds, like the Saint Bernard, for example, can have combined ectropion and entropion, often requiring surgical correction. The lids at the inner corners of the eye can turn inward (entropion), while the middle of the lid everts (ectropion).

    Entropion in Dogs

    Common sense disclaimer: As with everything else on this blog, it’s critical to seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian, preferably one that is board certified in theriogenology (reproductive science) for reproductive matters. This website, its blog, and its courses are NOT designed nor intended to replace the need for a qualified veterinarian, but instead to help educate people to to work optimally with their veterinarians. All recommendations should be reviewed with qualified professionals, such as a board certified reproductive veterinarian, prior to implementation in a breeding program. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian. Readers assume all risks associated with use of material on this site. More here.

    Entropions seem to be occurring in higher frequency so this post is from a workshop we did on Facebook in 2017 about what they are, why they are undesirable, and how to prevent them.

    Both entropions and ectropions often give the eyes of a dog that “sad puppy dog” droop with red showing around the inner eyelid. Some people may think it’s “cute,” but it can be very painful and harmful to a dog.

    Entropion and ectropion are both genetic conditions. There haven’t been any specific genes yet identified with it, but it has been clearly established that dogs that have eye lid problems like these can breed puppies with the same problems. Also, some dogs without entropion/ectropion can still have puppies with entropion/ectropion, so dogs with a history of producing puppies with eye lid problems should be removed from the breeding pool.

    Ectropion can also be caused by thyroid problems, which are also known to be heritable. Dogs who lose significant amounts of weight can also have ectropion. Unless there is an underlying genetic disease, this is not likely a heritable cause (but obviously there are other problems!).

    Entropion and ectropion both usually show up by the time a dog is a year old. Breeders should be particularly aware of any puppies whose eyes dont open when the eyes of the rest of the litter open, or whose eyes don’t open by 4-5 weeks old. Dogs usually need to be treated with surgery to correct the entropion/ectropion. Unfortunately, surgical correction of ectropion can cause entropion, and vice versa.

    Entropion is a condition of the eyelid. It causes the margin of the eyelid, or part of it, to fold toward the eye. Tics of the eye, as well as mucus or pus in the outer corner of the eye, as well as redness and irritation can also often be seen. The fold allows hairs or eyelashes to rub against the eye and, at best, causes irritation, and at worst, can cause corneal perforation, corneal ulcers, or a buildup of keratin from scarring. All of these can be very painful and cause infections, reduced vision, or blindness.

    Entropions are more likely to be found in dogs with brachycephaly (pushed in faces) or in dogs with excessively droopy faces, and are more prevalent in smaller dogs (such as toy breeds) but can be found in any breed. Smaller Poodles and Golden Retrievers are known to have entropion.

    Like entropion, ectropion is a condition of the eyelid. Entropions occur when the margin of the eyelid rolls outward. The outward rolling causes the inner lining of the eyelid to be exposed. This inner portion of the eyelid is not designed to be unprotected, and exposure of it can cause problems with eye lubrication and other problems that can lead to corneal diseases. Ectropion can be very painful and cause infections, reduced vision, or blindness.

    Breeds with droopy faces and loose facial skin as well as giant breeds are more prone to ectropion, but ectropion can be found in any breed.

    Staining of the face caused by problems with tears and tear drainage at the inner corner of the eye are characteristic of ectropion. (Not all dogs with tear staining have ectropion, however.) Dogs with ectropion also have a problem with forge in matter getting in their eye, which causes additional risk of corneal damage. Ectropion also makes a do more predisposed to conjunctivitis (inflamed infection of the conjunctiva of the eye) caused by bacteria.

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