Canine Entropion

What is Entropion?

Entropion is the abnormal inward rotation of part or all of the eyelid margin, resulting in hair rubbing against the ocular surface. This can lead to conjunctivitis and corneal damage. Entropion can be either congenital or acquired.

Congenital entropion is more common in certain breeds such as Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, Retrievers, Chow Chows, Rottweilers, and Shar Peis. Facial conformation can contribute to the severity of the eyelid abnomality. In the larger breeds, such as St. Bernards and Great Danes, the eyelid can be excessively long, causing the central lower lid to hang outward (this is called “ectropion”), pulling the sides inward. This abnormality with both entropion and ectropion on both the upper and lower eyelids is called “diamond eye.” In breeds like the Shar Pei, the defect is due to a small eyelid opening that puts tension on the eyelid and rolls it inward.

Acquired “spastic” entropion is often secondary to another (primary) ophthalmic abnormality such as distichia/ectopic cilia, traumatic corneal ulcers, injuries, foreign bodies, intraocular inflammation, or glaucoma (elevated ocular pressure). These primary problems can lead to blepharospasm due to the ocular discomfort/pain and causes the acquired/spastic entropion. Once the primary problem is either treated or corrected, the acquired (secondary) entropion will often, but not always, resolve.

Whenever your pet is showing signs of a health issue your first step is to contact your primary care veterinarian. If it is indicated that your pet may suffer from entropion or other serious condition a veterinary specialist is available at an ExpertVet certified or affiliated hospital.


Clinical Signs and Diagnosis

Pets with entropion commonly present with one or both eyes partially held shut (squinting) with excessive tearing.

Congenital entropion usually becomes evident prior to one year of age. Mild entropion can cause minor discomfort, whereas severe irritation can lead to mucous discharge, conjunctivitis, and corneal disease (ulceration, perforation, excessive scar tissue).

Entropion can be diagnosed by physical exam during one of your pet's regular visits. If entropion is suspected, a thorough examination of the eye is performed to make certain there are no other painful conditions present that are causing an eyelid spasm in your pet such as corneal ulceration, uveitis, glaucoma, etc. If the eye has no other problem, then a diagnosis of inherited entropion is usually made.

Your veterinarian may refer you to a board-certified ophthalmologist who is well equipped to diagnose entropion and determine treatment options based on the underlying cause.