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What is Ectropion?

Dogs with ectropion appear to have droopy eyes, and there is visible red or pink tissue below the sclera (the whites of the eyes). Congenital ectropion is typically diagnosed before one year of age and most commonly seen in the following breeds: Basset Hound, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel, Mastiff, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard. While congenital ectropion is the most common form, some dogs may develop acquired ectropion at any age as a symptom of one of various conditions. Ectropion is not to be confused with entropion, which is the condition of the eyelid rolling inward.

Lower eyelid droop, or ectropion, is a condition in which the lower eyelid rolls down and away from the eye, exposing the inner eyelid tissue. Affected dogs are at an increased risk to developing corneal complications that may affect their eyesight.

Ectropion Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$600

Symptoms of Ectropion in Dogs

  • Protrusion of the bottom eyelid, exposing tissue below the eyeball
  • Fur below the eyes stained a brownish color by tears
  • Redness and other signs of irritation
  • Recurring bacterial conjunctivitis, or pink eye
  • Pawing at the eye
  • Discomfort
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Causes of Ectropion in Dogs

Congenital
Inherited ectropion is a result of selective breeding to increase certain physical characteristics. For instance, hound breeds with excessive droopy skin are more likely to inherit a lower eyelid droop due to lack of eyelid support.

Acquired
Acquired ectropion is a symptom of one of the following conditions:

  • Facial nerve paralysis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Scarring as a result of injury
  • Chronic inflammation and infection of eye tissue
  • Corneal ulceration as a result of infection
  • Neuromuscular disease
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Diagnosis of Ectropion in Dogs

You must seek prompt diagnosis and treatment for lower eyelid droop. If treatment is delayed, corneal scarring can affect your dog’s vision and cannot be corrected. Upon physical examination of your dog, a veterinarian will be able to diagnose a lower eyelid droop easily. However, depending upon your dog’s age, further testing may be necessary. It is important that you inform your veterinarian of the onset of your dog’s symptoms in order to aid in the determination of the type and cause of the disorder. Let your veterinarian know when you first noticed the eyelid droop.

If your dog developed symptoms past the age of one year, testing will be done to determine the cause of the disorder. These tests may vary depending upon what additional symptoms your dog exhibits and what underlying cause is suspected. Basic testing to be expected is a blood sample with a blood chemistry analysis and complete blood count as well as a urinalysis. If a neuromuscular disease is suspected, a nerve biopsy may be ordered. 

If corneal ulceration is suspected, a procedure known as corneal staining involving a dye will be conducted in order to confirm ulceration. The vet should also measure tear production.

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Treatment of Ectropion in Dogs

Treatment for the primary condition of lower eyelid droop will involve eye drops to lubricate the eye and ointment to prevent the drying out of the cornea and conjunctivae. Any infections will be treated with topical medicine. If the dog is rubbing, a buster collar will be used. For more severe cases, surgical correction may be required in order to provide proper support for the lower eyelid and decrease the droop.

This surgery can typically be performed by your general veterinarian, although, in some extreme cases, you may be referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist. Additionally, in cases with extreme swelling and inflammation in the area around the eye, your veterinarian or specialist may recommend separating the procedure into two surgeries in an effort to avoid overcorrection. For dogs with corneal ulcers due to infection, ophthalmic antibiotics will be prescribed first. Additional underlying causes will need further treatment, depending upon the specific cause.

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Recovery of Ectropion in Dogs

With proper treatment, a dog’s chance of recovering from lower eyelid droop is very good. Surgery is typically successful; however, there is a small chance of overcorrection that can lead to further problems. If your dog’s condition is too mild to warrant surgery, medical treatment is likely to alleviate problems, although it is likely to be necessary throughout your dog’s life in order to maintain health and avoid pain. Your veterinarian may recommend an increase in the frequency of your dog’s well check ups in order to monitor the condition. In this situation, the condition may worsen as your dog enters old age, and frequency of check-ups may need to increase. If corneal scarring has occurred due to delayed treatment, your dog will have to adjust to its visual deficits.

It is important to note that if your dog has congenital ectropion, particularly if it is severe enough to warrant surgery, he or she should not be bred, as it is likely the condition will be passed on to offspring.

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Ectropion Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$600

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Ectropion Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Boris

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English Cocker Spaniel

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Tearing

Hi my dog is 3 and half years old, and he had this condition ever since he was a puppy, I'm afraid to go with the surgical options because of what complications it may bring along. I was just probably wondering if there is some kind of eye drops or ointments that could be used safely ? One more question is, how would I know the severity of Ectropion? I mean he tears a lot, but that's about it... what do you advise I should do?

April 27, 2018

Boris' Owner

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0 Recommendations

Surgery is the treatment of choice in these cases, it is true that over correction may cause complications but it is important to have this surgery done by a Veterinarian with experience in this procedure. The severity can be as mild as just a cosmetic issues, mild tearing or as severe as reddened eyes and secondary infections etc… You should discuss with your Veterinarian, but surgery should be considered. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 28, 2018

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Molly

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Labrador Retriever

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12 years

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Mild severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Eyelid Drooping

My Labrador is 12 years old, her bottom eyelid is drooping down and some of the tissue from the corner is covering her eye abit. I’ve been to the vets and he says it’s a possible internal ear infection?

Nov. 9, 2017

Molly's Owner

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3 Recommendations

Normally eyelid disorders that you are probably thinking about are present at or soon after birth; your Veterinarian most likely is thinking about Horner’s Syndrome when may cause droopy eyelids which may be caused by an ear infection due to the path the nerve takes getting to the face. Without examining Molly, I cannot confirm but is something we commonly see in practice. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/condition/horners-syndrome

Nov. 10, 2017

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Ectropion Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$600

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