Overview of Canine Ectropion
Ectropion is eversion or rolling outward of the eyelid margin, resulting in exposure of the dog’s palpebral conjunctiva, which is the delicate membrane that lines the eyelid. It most commonly affects the lower central eyelid.
Causes of Ectropion in Dogs
Developmental ectropion may occur as a breed characteristic in the St. Bernard, bloodhound, mastiff, English and American cocker spaniel, English bulldog, basset hound, and Newfoundland, and is recognized in dogs less than a year old.
Acquired ectropion may be found in other breeds, and these dogs are often older.
What to Watch For
Diagnosis of Ectropion in Dogs
Generally, the diagnosis is made by visual inspection of the eye. In older animals, a baseline complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis are recommended in order to rule out other or associated disorders.
In dogs with profound muscle wasting or poor muscle tone, additional diagnostics may be warranted to pursue neuromuscular disorders. Fluorescein staining is helpful in confirming corneal ulcers secondary to exposure and drying.
Treatment of Ectropion in Dogs
Supportive care and good ocular and facial hygiene is usually sufficient for most mild cases. Intermittent/physiologic fatigue-related ectropion need not be treated.
If necessary, treatment may include:
Ectropion associated with hypothyroidism and masticatory myositis (inflammation of the muscles of the head) often responds to appropriate medical therapy for the underlying condition.
Home Care for Dogs with Ectropion
Administer all medication as directed by your veterinarian and return for follow-up as directed. If surgery was performed, use an Elizabethan collar to prevent self-trauma.
Ectropion may become more severe as the dog ages.