Entropion in Dogs (Eyelid Growing Inward)

Lindsey Naimoli, DVM
Written by:
Published: October 22, 2021
Entropion in Dogs (Eyelid Growing Inward)

What Is Entropion in Dogs?

Entropion is when a dog’s eyelid grows inward so their eyelashes rub against their cornea (clear part of the eye covering the iris). It is the most common eyelid abnormality in dogs. Entropion may affect any part of the lower eyelid, upper eyelid, or both.

Entropion in dogs can develop as a primary disease that’s genetically inherited at birth or as a secondary disease affecting dogs at any point of their lives.

Symptoms of Entropion in Dogs

The main symptom of entropion is an inverted eyelid (turned inward) that causes eye irritation.

Additional symptoms include:

  • Excessive tear production and staining    

  • Eye discharge (pus/mucus)

  • Eye redness (conjunctival hyperemia)

  • Keeping the eye closed

Causes of Entropion in Dogs

Entropion is caused by an eyelid that has an abnormal shape in relation to the eyeball.

The factors that lead to entropion in dogs include:    

  • Length of eyelid

  • Shape of skull

  • Shape of the bone cavity that contains the eyeball

  • Gender

  • Extensive skin folds and wrinkles around the eyes

Entropion in dogs can be primary, or present at birth, or secondary, meaning it was caused by something else.

Primary Entropion in Purebred Dogs

Primary entropion is the most common lid disease in purebred dogs. It is thought to be due to a hereditary defect, but the genetic basis is not well understood.

The most common breeds predisposed to entropion are:

Causes of Secondary Entropion in Dogs

Secondary causes of entropion in dogs include:

  • Trauma or inflammation from eye injuries

  • Eyelid scarring or nerve damage

  • Infectious disease

  • Systemic dermatological conditions, such as generalized pyoderma, demodectic mange, or dermatophytosis (ringworm)

How Vets Diagnose Entropion in Dogs

Veterinarians perform an ophthalmologic examination of your dog’s eyes and eyelids in order to diagnose entropion. Your dog will be awake and not sedated for evaluation, as this allows your vet to observe your dog’s normal eye shape.

Treatment for Entropion in Dogs

Entropion requires surgery to be treated. The surgery involves removing the extra skin surrounding the eyelids to tighten them back to a normal anatomical position.

In growing puppies under 12 weeks of age, eyelid-tacking procedures are typically performed instead of the normal surgery to treat entropion.

With eyelid tacking, the skin surrounding the eye is not removed the way it is with a normal entropion surgical procedure. Instead, the excess skin surrounding the eye is temporarily turned outward with tension sutures. This is so a puppy’s facial features can fully develop without the risk of malformations due to surgical removal of the developing eyelid muscle or tissue.

Surgical complications from entropion surgery include:

  • Under correction, which occurs if not enough eyelid skin has been removed to correct the eyelid from rubbing the cornea

  • Overcorrection, which occurs if too much eyelid skin is removed, preventing the eyelids from closing normally

Take heart that these complications are rare, and surgical correction is the best treatment choice for entropion. The prognosis for animals after entropion surgery is excellent because it restores their comfort and vision.

Recovery and Management of Entropion in Dogs

Recovery from entropion surgery is rapid. Your dog’s eyes will be swollen from surgery and will be the most swollen around 24 hours after surgery. The swelling can take 2-4 weeks to completely go away. Your dog will need to wear an Elizabethan collar after surgery to protect the sutures around their eyes.

Your vet might prescribe topical eye medications depending on whether your dog has underlying corneal disease. They might also prescribe oral antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and analgesics.    

You will need to go back to the vet so they can remove the sutures 14 days after surgery, and the Elizabethan collar can be removed a few days after that.

One thing you need to watch out for is keeping your dog from injuring the incision site, which usually happens if your dog is able to remove the Elizabethan collar or if you’ve taken it off your dog too soon after the surgical procedure.

Entropion in Dogs (Eyelid Growing Inward) FAQs

Can a dog outgrow entropion?

No, dogs cannot outgrow entropion. If the condition is left without corrective surgery, it can cause further eye diseases, such as corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, and chronic eye discharge. The entropion itself can even worsen over time in breeds that develop more skin folds around their face as they age.

Is entropion in dogs painful?

Yes, entropion is painful to dogs. It causes discomfort due to the constant irritation of the cornea resulting in eye damage and vision loss. 

How much does entropion surgery cost for dogs?

Typical surgery for entropion costs $500-$1000 per eye. A general veterinary practitioner that is familiar with entropion surgery will be able to perform the procedure for less money than a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.


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