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

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Shar Pei

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Two Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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

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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1 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Watery Eyes
Lethargy
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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