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Squinting and Inflamed Eyelids in Dogs

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Foreign Bodies in the Eyes continued...

You may be able to see dirt or plant material on the surface or behind the upper and lower eyelids. If not, the foreign body may be caught behind the third eyelid. In that case, the dog will need a topical eye anesthetic before it can be removed.

Treatment: Flush the eye for 10 to 15 minutes using cool water, or preferably a sterile saline eyewash or artificial tears. To flush the eye, soak a wad of cotton in the solution and squeeze it into the eye repeatedly. If you have a bottle of artificial tears on hand, you can flush the eye directly from the bottle.

If the foreign body cannot be removed by irrigation, you may be able to remove it by gently touching it with a wet cotton-tipped swab. The foreign body may adhere to the cotton tip. Foreign bodies that penetrate the surface of the eye must be removed by a veterinarian. Restrain the dog from pawing at the eye while you drive to the veterinary hospital.

If the dog continues to squint or tear after the foreign body has been removed, have him checked by your veterinarian to see if the cornea has been damaged.

Entropion

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.

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