How to Diagnose Entropion in Boxers
Boxers are known for their adorable faces and wrinkly the folds of skin. Unfortunately, these extra folds can cause entropion. Entropion happens when excess skin pushes up on the eyelids, rolling them inward. This means that the inner portion of the eyelid rubs directly on the surface of the eye, causing irritation. Since signs of irritation from entropion are similar to other eye problems, it's important to have your Boxer examined by a vet.
Recognizing the Symptoms
1. Look for squinting.
If your dog is feeling uncomfortable, you may notice him squinting or narrowing his eye. Compare one eye with the other to see if one eye is worse. If both eyes are affected then the dog may appear to have narrow eyes.
- If the eye is really bothering your dog, he may even hold his eye shut to keep the lid from rubbing against the eyeball.
2. See if your dog has watery eyes.
Your dog's eye may sense a foreign object, so his eye will water as the eye tries to protect itself against irritation. It will keep watering, trying to flush out the dust and grit it believes is causing the problem.
- You might notice your dog's face is constantly damp or see reddish-brown stains on the fur beneath his eyes from the tears.
3. Pay attention to your dog rubbing his eye.
If your Boxer's eye is irritated, he may swipe at his eye using a paw. He may also rub his face along the ground. This constant rubbing can lead to an eye infection, so look for yellow-green discharge.
- Understand that some Boxers with entropion don't rub their eyes. This is because they've become so used to the constant irritation, that they assume the feeling is normal.
4. Notice the color of your Boxer's eyes.
If there's extreme irritation and rubbing over the course of several months, the eye may start making scar tissue to protect the surface. This scar tissue looks milky and will start to take on a blue appearance as layers accumulate. When this happens, your dog won't be able to see through the tissue.
- In less severe cases of irritation, your dog's eye might look red. This is because rubbing causes the white of the eye to become inflamed and red.
5. Consider your dog's risk.
Dogs with short-noses (brachycephalics) are at increased risk, because they have extra folds of skin on their faces. These can push on the eyelids and force them to roll inward. This puts Boxers at risk for entropion.
- Be aware that the symptoms of entropion are similar to those of other conditions like conjunctivitis, trauma to the eye, a foreign body in the eye, and glaucoma. If you suspect an eye problem, get your Boxer checked by a vet who can confirm the diagnosis.
Getting a Medical Diagnosis
1. Get your dog's eyes examined.
The veterinarian will look carefully at your Boxer's eyes to check for symmetry. The vet will also measure the gap between the eyelids (known as the palpebral fissure). This thorough examination will check the internal and external structures of your dog's eyes.
- To check the eyes, the vet uses a tool called an ophthalmoscope which can magnify the cornea, making it easy to see if eyelashes are rubbing against the surface of the eye.
2. Apply pressure to your dog's eye.
If the veterinarian suspects your Boxer has entropion, the vet may put away the ophthalmoscope and apply gentle pressure instead. Applying pressure while pulling the eyelid downward can help roll the eyelid out. If your dog really has entropion, this will adjust the eyelid into the correct position.
- The vet can confirm the diagnosis by releasing pressure. If the eyelid rolls back into the eye, your dog has entropion.
3. Use local anesthetic.
If your dog's eye is very sore, causing him to squint, the vet may put a few drops of local anesthetic into the eye. This will numb any discomfort and let the eyelid sit in its natural position.
- If the eyelid sits normally once pain is gone, this means it's not true entropion. Instead, it may be caused by some other discomfort.
4. Follow treatment recommendations.
The veterinarian will probably recommend surgery to treat entropion. A veterinary surgeon will remove a small bit of tissue from underneath the eyelid. This reduces the amount of tissue, helping the eyelid sit in a more normal position.
- Surgery for entropion is usually only performed on adult-size Boxers.
- Your Boxer may go through several small corrective surgeries. This prevents removing too much tissue from the eyelid.
- Purebred dogs aren't the only ones to get entropion. But, selective breeding means that some breeds (like Boxers) are more likely to have this condition.
- Other breeds that suffer from entropion include the Shah Pei, Golden Retriever, Labrador retriever, Pekingese, bulldog, Cocker spaniel, Shih Tzu, pug, Japanese chin, Tibetan spaniel, English springer spaniel, and Siberian Husky.