Closure of Medial Canthus in Dogs

Closure of Medial Canthus in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

What are Closure of Medial Canthus?

Many conditions or genetic defects can cause a dog to have droopy eyes. Not only is this not aesthetically pleasing, it can lead to severe irritation of the eye or result in excessive tearing. The medial canthus is a tendon in the eyelid where two tendon arms meet. It controls eyelid movement, but can become loose in some cases.

While medications can control tearing, surgery is often the only way to correct a severe droop of the eyelid. In a process called a blepharoplasty, portions of the eyelid are removed. The medial canthus is then reattached and the remaining tissue is closed. It is a complex procedure that can use grafts. As it is a less common procedure, it should be performed by a veterinary specialist if possible.

Closure of Medial Canthus Procedure in Dogs

To diagnose issues of the eye, diagnostic imaging may be used. A thorough examination of the eye will also be performed. A Schirmer Tear Test can be used to help identify ulcers on the eye’s surface. Full blood work will be needed to assess if the dog is healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia. Once all of this information has been gathered, a plan will be constructed to decide the best way to operate and reconstruct the eye.  

To begin the surgery, the animal will be put under, often using anesthetic gas. The lower eyelid may then be incised, generally in the center. If a tumor is present, it will be removed at this time. A triangular piece of skin will be removed to alleviate drooping or ingrown hairs. The tendon must then be repaired so that the eyelid is properly supported. The layers of the eyelid may then be closed, using polypropylene sutures.

Efficacy of Closure of Medial Canthus in Dogs

In most cases, the symptoms being treated are not fully resolved. Overall condition can be improved, but irritation and tearing may remain to some degree. Closing the medial canthus is effective for correcting the visible droop of a dog's eyelid. If cancer has been diagnosed, this procedure will only be an effective treatment if it has not already metastasized through the body.

Closure of Medial Canthus Recovery in Dogs

The dog should be closely monitored during recovery. All vital functions should resume after anesthesia administration has been stopped. Hospitalization is generally not long, with the dog being discharged the same day as the procedure in most cases. A short course of pain medication may be prescribed. 

Antibiotics are also given, to prevent bacterial infection from setting into the surgical site. The eye(s) should be kept clean during the healing process. Any sign of infection should be reported to the vet so that it may be promptly treated. A follow-up appointment is needed two weeks after surgery to assess how the eye has healed. If the dog has been diagnosed with cancer, further treatment may be necessary.

Cost of Closure of Medial Canthus in Dogs

Although this procedure may take a lot of planning, it often does not take long to perform. If the process is uncomplicated, the cost can be as low as $75. If x-rays are needed or a specialist is being used, the cost can be as high as $300 per eye. Dogs with eye tumors generally cost more to operate on than those without. The medications used after the procedure will also contribute to the overall price.

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Dog Closure of Medial Canthus Considerations

Whenever anesthesia is used, certain rare but serious complications can happen. Eye infections may result from the surgical wound. Some dogs may not have resolution of their eye problems after surgery has been performed. If the dog has cancer, removing the eye tumor and surrounding tissue may not be a permanent solution to the problem. To save the dog unnecessary pain, the operation should only be completed if overall survival rates are fair.

Closure of Medial Canthus Prevention in Dogs

Eye issues that lead to a blepharoplasty are most prominent in brachycephalic (dogs with short and broad skulls) and mesocephalic (dogs with proportionate skulls) dog breeds. Boxers, Pugs, Pekingese and Shih Tzus are all affected by problems involving the medial canthus. Dogs who require surgery to alleviate these eye issues should not be bred, to prevent the defective genes from being passed on. If mild tearing is present, antihistamines can be given to relieve seasonal itching. 

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