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What is Entropion?

Entropion usually happens to the dog’s lower eyelid; all or part of the eyelid folds inward toward the eyeball. However, it can also affect the upper lid and in some cases, both upper and lower eyelids are affected. The disorder can be present in one or both eyes. 

The constant rubbing of the dog’s eyelashes against his eye results in irritation and great discomfort. Eventually, entropion in dogs can cause painful corneal ulcers (open sores), which can lead to scarring, loss of vision, or even blindness.

Entropion usually occurs to breeds which have flat faces, short muzzles and loose facial skin folds. Dog breeds such as the Bulldog, Pug, Pekinese, American Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler, Boxer, Basset Hound, Blood Hound, Mastiff, Labrador Retriever, Shar-pei and the Saint Bernard are commonly diagnosed with entropion.

Entropion in dogs is an abnormality in which the eyelid inverts (rolls) inward. This causes the dog’s eyelashes to repeatedly scrape across the eyeball.

Symptoms of Entropion in Dogs

Symptoms may include:

  • Eye redness
  • Inner eye inflammation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Squinting
  • Excessive tearing
  • Dog paws at his eyes
  • Eye discharge or mucus
  • Keeping eyes closed
  • Corneal abrasion 
  • Corneal ulcers (appear as dull spots  or disc-like depressions on the surface of the eye)
  • Cries out, yelps from the pain 
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
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Causes of Entropion in Dogs

  • Entropion is usually inherited, puppies are born with the abnormality
  • Trauma to the eye
  • Inflamed eye infection 
  • Senior dogs with skin laxity due to aging
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Diagnosis of Entropion in Dogs

The veterinarian will want to know if your dog has had any recent trauma to the eye and may administer local anesthetic eye drops before performing an eye exam.  This will help with the pain and your dog will be less stressed. Entropion in dogs is easily diagnosed during the optical exam.

If the veterinarian is concerned that your dog has corneal abrasions or corneal ulcers he will perform a fluorescein test.  A drop of fluorescein is placed on the cornea; the dye turns green and will adhere to any damage on the cornea. The veterinarian may also recommend a Schirmer tear test, which measures aqueous tear production.

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Treatment of Entropion in Dogs

Eyelid surgery is the only permanent treatment for entropion.  An ophthalmologist veterinary surgeon will remove a small piece of tissue directly from below the eyelid (if entropion is on lower eyelid) and the two sides of the remaining tissue will be pulled together and sutured. The patient will have to have general anesthesia for this surgical procedure.

Puppies born with severe entropion may be treated first using a procedure to roll the eyelids outwards (keeping the eyelid from curling in with the use of sutures).  The surgery to correct the problem is then performed when he is more mature (6-12 months of age). In some cases when this is done, puppies eyes have corrected themselves before the surgery is needed.

Patients diagnosed with corneal abrasions will be prescribed antibiotic drops and ophthalmic atropine drops or ointment, which will help with the pain and spasms.  Atropine dilates the eyes, so sunlight should be avoided.  

Atropine drops may drain into the dog’s nose and down his throat.  If this occurs the dog may start drooling because atropine is bitter tasting. The drooling is not a side effect; the medication does not taste good and causes this natural reaction.

Dogs with corneal ulcers may have a therapeutic soft lens placed in the eye. The patient may be prescribed antibiotics, atropine and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.  If the corneal ulcer does not heal properly, surgery may be required to remove unhealthy corneal tissue or to have a corneal graft.

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Recovery of Entropion in Dogs

Patients that undergo surgery for entropion will receive post-operative instructions from the ophthalmologist veterinary surgeon.  The patient will need to be confined indoor with occasional supervised potty breaks.  He will need to wear an Elizabethan collar until the sutures are removed. The eye will be very sensitive to light; so bright lights should be avoided.  Your dog will be prescribed pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications.  To help prevent infections he may also be prescribed antibiotics.  

Your companion will require follow up visits to monitor his progress and to have the sutures removed.  Patients being treated for corneal abrasions or corneal ulcers will need to be seen weekly for eye exams, to ensure that the cornea is healing properly.

Dogs that undergo corrective surgery for entropion have an excellent prognosis. They are able to enjoy an improved quality of life without the constant pain and irritation to their eye. The success rate for entropion surgery is 90-95%.  A few dogs may need a second surgery to correct the abnormality.  Reoccurrence of the disorder is uncommon.

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Entropion Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Shar Pei

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Two Months

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Entropion

Hello! i am strongly considering purchasing a sharp eagle / english bulldog mix. They told me that they see that it has eyelid entropion and I am trying to determine whether or not to buy it. Is it an easy fix in surgery? Could it leave unsightly scarring in the eye? Is this something that should make me not go through with the purchase or is it easily addressed? Thanks!

July 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, thank you for your question. Some puppies will grow out of entropion as they "grow into" their wrinkles, but it usually has to be fixed with surgery. The surgery looks unsightly immediately afterwards, but once it is healed, it looks fine. I will warn you that both Shar Peis and English Bulldogs have a lot of issues genetically. Shar peis can have a lot of skin and eye issues, and bulldogs tend to have skin, eye, hip, knee and breathing problems. I recommend doing a lot of research on these breeds before you purchase the puppy, and I recommend getting pet insurance if you get this dog to help cover possible issues in the future! Best of luck! I'm sure the puppy is adorable!!!

July 12, 2020

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Kona

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Chesepeake mix

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One Year

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Watery Eyes
Confused

My one year old chesepeake mix just got entropian surgery on both eyes (today would be 3 days post surgery) her eyes seem very water making her sutures ( long eyelashes) wet. Sometimes she opens her eyes but most of the day she's been sleeping or sitting up with her eyes closed. Is this normal ? Should her eyes be watering like this?

Sept. 7, 2018

Kona's Owner

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Ben

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Labrador Retriever

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Eye Tacking Surgery

Our chocolate lab just had the temporary eyelid tacking procedure. He loves to play with other dogs run etc. We are keeping him fairly quiet for a week...will he be able to resume his active lifestyle after that or do I need to be concerned about the sutures coming out?

July 21, 2018

Ben's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Once that procedure heals, ben should be able to live his normal life, but it would be a good idea to have a recheck at the end of the week to make sure that normal healing is occurring and have your veterinarian look at the sutures to be sure.

July 21, 2018

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Walter

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Chow Chow

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vision Problems

My 12 month old chow chow just had entropion surgery 2 weeks ago. He will not keep his eyes open and they seem worse then when he went in.On walks he cannot keep on the the sidewalk,and would walk into objects if I did not guide him. He is scheduled for suture removal tomorrow, should I get a second opinion? Had him back to vet 7 days after surgery cause he could not see, they tacked his skin to try and force him to keep his eyes open but it has not helped.

June 28, 2018

Walter's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

That is not normal recovery for entropion surgery, but without being able to examine him or knowing more about the surgery, I have a hard time commenting on what might actually be going on. It would be worthwhile seeing what your veterinarian says at the recheck tomorrow, but if they seem to think that this is normal, I don think that a second opinion may be a good idea.

June 28, 2018

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Deucalion

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Great Dane

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling, Redness

My 2-year old just had his second entropion surgery on his right eye, 4 days ago. The skin inside the eye is very swollen and the stitches look a little red and wet. Is this normal? I don’t remember these symptoms with his first surgery, and he keeps trying to claw at his eye through his cone.

April 9, 2018

Deucalion's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

It would be a very good idea to have a recheck with your veterinarian to have the eye looked at, post-operatively. I cannot see the eye, or determine if there is a problem, and complications can occur after an eye surgery. Because he seems uncomfortable, sooner would be better than later. I hope that all is okay with him.

April 9, 2018

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Belvedere

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Bullmastiff

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2 Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Watery Eyes
Gooey Eyes

We just purchased a bullmastiff puppy. She is 2 and a half months old and was diagnosed with entropion eyes. What is the chance she will grow out of it with just the tacking, and we won't have to do the major surgery?

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Sally

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Boxer SharPei

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One Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Periodic Rubs

I just got the sweetest Boxer Shar Pei from the shelter. She has entropian in her left eye. Sometimes it bothers her and I wipe her eye with a warm wash cloth and then she is OK for a day or so until it bothers her again. I would like to wait another month so she feels more secure in her new home (4 months at the shelter as a fire rescue) - do you think it would be OK to wait as long as she isn't rubbing it?

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Mars

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Cane Corso

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18 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Entropion Aftercare

My 18 month old Italian mastiff just had entropion surgery on both eyes yesterday. For the aftercare I was told to put some lubricant on his eyes a few times a day. He’s 130 lbs and doesn’t want me to touch his eyes so I don’t want to struggle with him. Will it slow the healing process or make things worse if I cannot treat his eyes

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Sage

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German Shorthaired Pointer

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Teary Eyes,
Teary Eyes, Discharge

My 12 month old GSP is showing signs of Entropion but only when she's sleeping or waking up from a nap. My vet and myself are kind of baffled. We've treated for infection with an antibiotic because she appears to have a very small clear bump on the third bottom eyelid, this is consistant on both eyes. We've treated for allergies with eye drops and Benadryl. Her Entropion isn't chronic meaning that the lower eyelid isn't constantly rolled inward. It only seems to happen after a nap or when she's sleeping. It takes a few minutes for the lower eyelid to straighten itself out. It does seem to bother her, she has tears, "sleepies" in her eye and she sometimes paws at her face. Has anybody else experienced this? It seems kind of unusual. From my understanding, Entropion is typically chronic and affects the dog all the time. I do not want to move forward with surgery until i'm 100% sure this is the correct action to take. Any advice or insight would be much appreciated.

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Daniel

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English Cocker Spaniel

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16 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Entropion
Ocular Trauma
Eyes Stuck Shut With Discharge

Our 16 yr old English cocker spaniel has been diagnosed with entropion in the left eye but is not fit for surgery due to his age. There is constant eye discharge which makes his eyelids stick together - we have managed this at home by cleaning multiple times throughout the day. Some 4-5 days ago, we saw a stream of blood flowing from his eye but we did not see what caused it so we think he might have hurt himself against furniture or a table edge. My problem is that now whenever I try to clean his eye, it starts bleeding. The vet said not to touch his eye but did not prescribe any medicines or ointments or any other care. His eye has now been stuck shut with the blood and discharge for the past two days and we're concerned if this might cause further problems? Please advise?