Squinting and Inflamed Eyelids in Dogs (cont.)


This condition, in which the eyelids roll inward, is the most common congenital defect of the eyelids. It can also be caused by injury and long-standing eyelid infections that cause scarring. The abnormal eyelids produce irritation with tearing and squinting. Corneal injuries are common from abrasion by the hairs.

It may be difficult to distinguish entropion from blepharospasm. The best way to tell them apart is to administer a topical eye anesthetic. If the inverted eyelids are caused by blepharospasm, temporarily blocking the eye pain causes the inversion to disappear.

Breeds most commonly affected by entropion are the Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, St. Bernard, Bulldog, and the hunting breeds. Most cases involve the lower eyelids. In dogs with large heads and loose facial skin, such as Chinese Shar-Pei, Bloodhounds, and St Bernards, the upper eyelids may be involved.

Treatment: Entropion requires surgical correction. Note that dogs who have had corrective surgery on their eyelids cannot be shown in conformation.


In dogs with this condition, the lower eyelid rolls out from the surface of the eye. This exposes the eye to irritants and leads to a high incidence of chronic conjunctivitis and corneal injury. Foreign bodies may get caught in the pocket created by the loose eyelid. Ectropion occurs in dogs with loose facial skin, such as scenthounds, spaniels, and St Bernards. It is also seen in older dogs whose facial skin has lost its tone. It can occur temporarily in hunting dogs, after a long day in the field.

Treatment: Mild ectropion that causes no symptoms needs no treatment. But in most cases, ectropion should be corrected by a surgical procedure that tightens the eyelids.

This article is excerpted from “Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” with permission from Wiley Publishing, Inc.