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Ectropion in Dogs and Cats

Definition, Symptoms, and Treatment of Ectropion


Lower lid ectropion in a four year old cocker spaniel. Credit: Joel Mills/Wikimedia

Lower lid ectropion in a four year old cocker spaniel.

Credit: Joel Mills/Wikimedia

Ectropion is an outward rolling or sagging of the eyelid.

It is seen most often in dogs, and is rare in cats. In dogs can be seen in any breed, but some breeds are predisposed including Basset Hounds, Bloodhounds, Bull Mastiffs, St. Bernards, Newfoundlands, and several breeds of Spaniels (including the Cocker Spaniel), among others.

Ectropion can occur simultaneously with entropion on different sections of the eyelid, especially in some giant breed dogs.

Signs and Symptoms of Ectropion
The sagging appearance of the lower eyelid is typical for ectropion and readily seen upon examination.

In contrast with entropion, where the eyelids roll in, ectropion rarely leads to serious issues. However, the sagging of the eyelid leaves the lining of the eye susceptible to irritants and infections. Discharge from the eye is commonly seen, and dogs with entropion may suffer repeated bouts of conjunctivitis. Dogs with ectropion may also develop dry eye.

Surgery can be done to correct ectropion by "tightening up" the eyelid. Surgery is best done once the dog has reached a mature size. Eye ointments can be used to treat infections and conjunctivitis as needed in the meantime. In very mild cases, where irritation and conjunctivitis are intermittent, medical management of they symptoms may be all that is necessary, rather than surgical correction. Your vet can help you decide what treatment option is best for your pet.

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