Goals of Treating Ectropion
The goals of treating canine ectropion are to resolve any underlying painful conditions and to correct severe cases that are causing continuous eye pain and irritation. Mild to moderate cases may require little treatment other than supportive care with topical lubricants (drops or ointment, with or without antibiotics) and thorough, regular and consistent facial hygiene by the dog’s owner. Severe cases of ectropion may require surgery.
Only occasional treatment may be called for in cases of mild to moderate ectropion, and even then only when clinical signs of irritation or infection develop. In these cases, topical eye drops or other lubricants (such as ointment) will be prescribed to help maintain moisture in affected eyes. If a bacterial infection accompanies the ectropion, drops, creams or ointments containing antibiotics will be prescribed until the infection clears.
Surgery is rarely necessary for ectropion in dogs, unless the condition is severe or accompanies another medical problem. Cases of severe ectropion will not improve without surgery, and if untreated can progress to increasing pain and permanent eye damage. There are several surgical procedures presently used to correct severe ectropion in dogs, including eyelid shortening (removing the drooping lower eyelid skin) or a radial facelift. These are done under general anesthesia and, while relatively quick as surgeries go, they are delicate procedures normally done by experienced surgeons.
The prognosis for dogs undergoing surgical correction of ectropion to restore normal eyelid conformation is quite good. Periodic treatment with lubricating drops, creams or ointments may be appropriate if infection or inflammation recur. Owners should seriously question whether to breed affected or closely related dogs with developmental/breed-associated ectropion.