What is Trichiasis of eyelid?
Trichiasis in dogs is a common disorder of the eyes, which occurs in some breeds of dogs, including Shih Tzu.
It is a condition where the eye is irritated by the hair of the eyelashes or the nearby facial hair.
Trichiasis happens when eyelid hairs are directed towards the eyeball, or the facial hair is touching the eye.
Trichiasis may cause corneal ulcers and conjunctivitis and is better treated with surgery.
It is often confused with entropion which is a different disorder.
Types of Trichiasis
Trichiasis in dogs can come in many types depending on the origin of the offending hair:
- Upper eyelid trichiasis
- Nasal fold trichiasis
- Caruncle trichiasis
- Post-traumatic trichiasis
What are the disease signs?
Owners may notice that the dog has an excessive tearing in one or both of the eyes, but not perceive the real cause. This condition is easy to notice by close attention to the dog’s eyes.
If left untreated for a long period of time, the dog may suffer the loss of either one or both eyes.
What are the causes of Trichiasis of eyelid?
This is a congenital disorder, which means it may be present from birth.
It has many risk factors, including the exophthalmia, which means the eyeball may protrude from the socket.
The condition is more frequent in breeds with exophtalmia, such as a Shih Tzu or Purkingese. These breeds have their eyes not fully closed during sleeping, and this is thought to favour Trichiasis.
Another cause if Trichiasis is the poor healing of the eyelid wounds, which may result in less scar tissue where the eyelashes are directed towards the eyes.
Is Trichiasis dangerous for my Shih Tzu? Can this make him blind?
Without proper treatment, your dog may lose either one or both of its eyes, resulting in blindness.
This condition has favourable outcomes with surgery.
Medical treatment is possible in some circumstances, but this condition is recurrent and requires long term care.
Surgery is the best solution.
How is Trichiasis detected?
Your veterinarian will perform a complete eye exam.
The exam will reveal that the hair of the eyelid is touching the eye and causing conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis is usually seen with trichiasis and requires treatment also.
In some cases, where the corneal irritation is minor, only medical treatment can heal the eye.
Antibiotics and lubricating ointments are prescribed during the first week, then the treatment wil continue with the use of neutral ointments or oils on a daily basis.
This may resolve the problem but for some owners, this is not always feasible.
Ectopic cilia surgery?
Surgery is conducted where complex surgical therapies are used, and they depend on the location of the trichiasis.
These techniques include:
- Laser ablation
- Medial canthoplastis
- Removal of a small part of the eyelid skin
Ectopic cilia surgery cost
Surgery cost can range from $300 to $1500.
The success rate of this surgery is high.
Recovery takes between 10 days to 2 weeks.
However, it is important to have your pet checked by your veterinarian to better monitor the healing.
Avoid breeding affected dogs.
Distichiasis is Eyelash or eyelashes arising from unusual places on the eyelid due to genetic issues. For example an eyelash growing inside eyelid.
Trichiasis is growth of eyelashes towards the eye. This is more common compared to Distichiasis.
If your dog has a medical issue, please consult your own veterinarian for treatment and further advice!