Entropion - very painful but easy to treat
Entropion is a genetic disorder that can be seen in lambs, kids, dogs and to a lesser degree in cats and cattle.
It’s a condition in which one or more eyelids are slightly oversized, which make the eyelid fold inward, causing the eye lashes to rub on the surface of the eye. The condition is irritating and painful.
Why does it happen?
Entropian is genetic and some breeds are more prone to entropian than others.
What are the symptoms?
Generally this is seen in very young livestock - from day one of life up to a couple of weeks. The rubbing against the eye is extremely painful. In young animals you’ll see the eye(s) will be closed and watering. There will often be tear tracks visible on the face. The animal will be showing general pain symptoms such as not being active and hunching.
What can you do?
In most youngsters, if the condition isn’t severe, you can roll the eyelids out and apply some eye ointment to help with the irritation or any infection. (You need to get this from your vet). Pink eye powder is probably not the best thing to use, as it can cause further irritation. You may have to roll the eye out repeatedly every few hours for days until it stays out.
If the entropion doesn’t respond to simple measures, the animal will need veterinary attention.
What can a vet do for entropion?
If the entropion is mild, an injection of antibiotics into the eyelid may be given. This causes the eyelid to puff up slightly which prevents it from curling under and so it no longer rubs on the eyeball.
In moderate cases, the eyelid can be turned out and a couple of stitches or tacks, put in to hold the eyelid in the correct position. As the lamb grows, the eyelid will maintain the rolled out position.
In very severe cases, a flap of skin may be cut out and then stitched so that the excess skin is tightened and pulled away from the eyeball.
What happens if entropion is left unattended?
Young livestock may grow out of it as they grow, but it can cause permanent damage to the eyeball in the form of ulcers. If the ulcers get too bad, the eyeball may need to be removed. All entropion needs to be attended to, whether it is successfully treated on your own or by a vet.
As this is a genetic condition it’s not advised to breed from affected animals.
Entropian is common and very treatable but it’s extremely painful for the animal. It’s also very easy to spot if you check your young animals thoroughly.