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Inturned Eyelids – A cause of chronic conjunctivitis

This is a common problem with certain breeds of dogs -, especially Rottweillers. It is occasionally seen in cats, horses and cattle.

In fact, I once did a lot of work for a stud breeder of Brahman cattle (in another area of Australia) who had a huge problem with this condition with his herd. To his credit – every single one of the beasts within the herd was desexed and culled from the herd. Even though his cattle were winning all the state titles for this particular breed (and the animals were worth thousands of dollars), his was more concerned about removing the genetic pool from the herd and also not allowing other breeders to breed the problem into the herd.

As he said to me: “David, my reputation as a breeder is more important to me than a few thousand dollars I may get by selling one of the beasts with the problem. Also, once the new owners had the problem they will bad mouth me long after they remember they got the beast at a low price”

The inturned eyelid problem is called Entropian and it is definitely hereditary.

The condition may not go to every pup in the little but a certain percentage of the pups either will carry the gene or show the problem.

Photo courtesy of Northwest Animal Eye Specialists

The inturning of the eyelid allows the hair that is normally covering the skin to rub into the cornea of the eye. This causes chronic irritation and leads to chronic conjunctivitis or chronic keratitis.

The affected animals usually have the problem in both eyes and usually, the history of the animal shows that they have had ‘pussy’, or weeping eyes for a long time. If you roll the bottom eyelid of these animals out, you will easily see the lining of the eyelid where the skin meets the mucosa of the conjunctiva.

Normal animals have this margin touching the cornea and this margin has special glands in it that lubricates the eyeball as it runs over the area. If the margin is not touching the cornea then this natural lubrication does not occur.

The dog with a mild case of this problem usually has a low-grade irritation and infection that mainly affects the hair and skin around the eye. This usually results in bare area of skin surrounding the eye

Enthropian can be fixed with surgery  – a simple skin tuck of the affected skin. The normal course of antibiotic / anti-inflammatory eye ointment will usually fix any long-term problem.

The sooner the animal is started  on the proper treatment – the sooner  the animal gets back its normal vision and removes any discomfort

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