Great Danes are among the dog breeds with a genetic predisposition for a hereditary disorder called entropion in which the eyelids “roll” inwards. It may sound rather harmless, but entropion causes the tiny hairs along the lash line to drag across the corneal surface of the eye, leading to pain, inflammation, and even vision-impairing scar tissue.
Many dog owners do not even notice that their dog has entropion until the affected eye(s) have already sustained damage. Early on, a Great Dane with the condition may squint, have excessive tear production, or a red, bloodshot appearance to the eyes.
Over time, the friction of the hairs against the delicate cornea can lead to corneal ulcers and eruptions. A damaged cornea is extremely painful. Immediate treatment from a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist is imperative to healing the cornea with the least amount of scarring and permanent damage to the dog’s vision.
There are many ways to treat corneal ulcers, but there is only one surefire way to remedy entropion – surgical correction. A section of skin is removed from the affected eyelid(s) to reverse the inward rolling. Surgery is usually scheduled for when the dog has matured to its full adult size at six to twelve months of age.
Often, a second, minor surgery is scheduled after the dog has healed from the first procedure. Breaking the repair up into two surgeries helps reduce the risk of over-correcting the entropion, resulting in an outward-rolling eyelid known as ectropion.
The post-surgical prognosis is usually very good for Great Danes, as long as the procedure is done correctly and at the right time. It is recommended that you seek out a specialist with extensive experience in entropion repair surgery.
If the dog has already suffered damage from corneal ulcers and abrasions, the effects on the vision and the eye itself could be permanent. It is important that Great Danes be thoroughly examined by a vet several times as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood.
Entropion can usually be identified on a thorough physical exam, and a plan can be made for treatment and correction.
Should you notice signs of squinting, holding the eye shut, excessive tearing, or redness of the eye(s), visit your vet right away. Staying vigilant while your Great Dane is young can help ensure that those beautiful eyes stay healthy throughout his entire life.
H/T to VCAHospitals.com
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