Ectropion is an eyelid abnormality in which the lower eyelid sags or rolls outward. It can occur alone or with other conformational abnormalities. Affected dogs and cats can even have this abnormality and entropion, a condition that causes the eyelid to roll inward, on different parts of their eyelids. Fairly common in dogs, the condition is usually inherited, but it can also occur secondary to weight loss, hypothyroidism, chronic eye infections or trauma. In cats, the condition is uncommon and is usually the result of trauma or chronic infection.
How Ectropion Affects Your Pet
In normal pets, the eyelids protect the eyes from damage and help keep the ocular surface moist. Ectropion leaves the pet's eyes vulnerable to environmental irritants, often resulting in chronic irritation. Persistent irritation leads to damage and predisposes animals with this pet condition to developing conjunctivitis. In many cases, pets with the condition make the damage worse by pawing or scratching at their irritated eyes. Additionally, a sagging lower eyelid can interfere with tear drainage because the lax lid allows tears to spill out of the eye rather than properly draining via the tear ducts.
Common Symptoms of Ectropion
Symptoms can vary on every pet, but they often include the following: Droopy lower eyelid, Protrusion of the third eyelid, Tear staining on the face, Redness or irritation of the eyes, Dry eyes and Recurrent conjunctivitis.
Treatments for Ectropion
In mild to moderate cases, treatment is focused on preventing and alleviating symptoms and complications. This involves keeping the eyes moist with artificial tears, minimizing contact with potential eye irritants, keeping the animal’s face clean and trimmed and monitoring the pet for signs of eye infection. All infections must be promptly treated to minimize scarring and permanent eye damage. In cases where the animal is damaging the eye by scratching or pawing, an Elizabethan collar is needed to prevent self-trauma. When supportive care is not sufficient to control symptoms, reconstructive surgery is an option.
The condition can occur in any breed, but dog breeds in which the problem is more common include the following: Basset hound, Bloodhound, Bulldog, Cocker spaniel, several mastiff breeds, Newfoundland and Saint Bernard. While uncommon in cats, ectropion is more likely to occur in members of flat-faced breeds, including Persians and Himalayans, than in other felines.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.