Dog: Entropion

General information

Other common/scientific names: rolled in eyelids

The eyelids are lined with a thin mucous membrane called the conjunctiva. The eyelids serve to protect the eyeball from foreign objects. The eyelids also produce some of the tears and help to keep the eye moist.

Entropion is a condition where the eyelids roll inwards, allowing the eyelashes and other hair to rub on the cornea, causing pain and irritation. Both the upper and lower eyelids can be affected and entropion can occur in either one or both eyes.

Abb. GGT8LNGB: Schematic illustration of the eye, side view, showing the position of the eyelids and cornea.


Entropion is usually inherited and seen most commonly in these breeds: St. Bernard, Chow Chow, Rottweiler, Poodle, Shar Pei, Bulldog. Entropion can occur secondary to conditions which cause pain and eyelid spasms, eyelid scarring or infections of the eye. Entropion can be seen concurrently with ectropion which is eversion or rolling out of the eyelids.

Cardinal symptom

Painful eye


Dogs with entropion have painful eyes. Because of this, excessive blinking, excessive tearing, redness and rubbing at the eyes are clinical signs seen with entropion. Dogs with entropion may be sensitive to the light. Chronic cases of entropion will cause inflammation to the cornea or keratitis. Left untreated, entropion can cause corneal ulcers and erosions, resulting in the cornea becoming discolored with edema, vascularization and pigment.

Abb. GG0ZR3G2
Abb. GG0ZR3G2: Entropion.
This is a photograph of a dog with entropion causing corneal damage.


Entropion is diagnosed by physical examination and clinical signs. It is important to know if the cornea is damaged. A special dye called a fluorescein dye can be applied to the cornea to diagnose an ulcer. If a corneal ulcer is present, the dye will stick to the damaged part and appear as a bright green area.


Entropion is treated by surgery. This procedure is called blepharoplasty and involves removing excess skin to tighten the eyelid allowing it to roll more outward. Skin sutures are placed where the skin is excised. These sutures are usually removed in 10 to 14 days. A special collar (E-collar) should be worn to keep the dog from rubbing at the eye and sutures.

This procedure should only be performed in adult dogs after they are have matured to avoid overcorrecting the eyelids. Puppies with severe entropion can have temporary sutures placed in their eyelids to keep the eyes healthy until they grow into their adult features.

If the entropion is secondary to another eye condition, treatment is aimed at the primary cause.

Corneal ulcers are treated with antibiotic and antispasmodic eye medications.


Prognosis is good if the surgery is performed before the cornea is damaged. If the cornea is damaged and scarred, prognosis will depend on the extent of damage. Severe corneal scarring can result in impaired vision.


Due to the heritable condition, dogs afflicted with entropion should not be used for breeding.

Update version: 4/24/2014, © Copyright by
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