„CONGENITAL ENTROPION in SHAR-PEI“
EXCERPTS FROM MY REPORT ON „CONGENITAL ENTROPION in SHAR-PEI“
To avoid potential misunderstandings, it is necessary to state upfront that
„“CONGENITAL ENTROPION” IS A PEDIGREE-RELATED HEREDITARY DISEASE CAUSED BY A GENETIC DEFECT"
A puppy opens its eyes in two weeks or three after birth, marking the first instance when it is actually able to see something. Quickly thereafter follows the second instance when a puppy with this disease sheds tears. It immediately closes either one eye or at times both immediately – to avoid severe pain!
This is the outcome of the mating of its parents, with the result that the pup is the unfortunate victim of congenital entropion! It would have been possible to avoid transmission of entropion, if the respective breeder had acted responsibly to exclude breeding stock with congenital entropion.
Entropion & its causes
Entropion is an eyelid disorder. Consequently, the eyelid border (usually the lower one) inverts along a part or all of its length. This prevents the eyelids from functioning properly to protect the eye. The word entropion refers to this pathological inversion. People commonly refer to this disease as rolling in of the eyelids.
Eyelids are made of two movable skin folds, an upper and a lower one. They have an important job – to protect the eyeball against foreign objects and strong light. On sensing danger, they can blink and close by reflex in a flash. Normally, eyes blink involuntarily six to twelve times a minute, acting like windshield wipers to spread the tears from the glands evenly over the corneas and keep them moist. The eyelid borders have several glands, with openings right on the edge. They look like tiny yellow points with fine oily secretions, which are critical for producing a stable film of tears to protect the cornea.
The eyelid borders themselves are hairless, but when inverted, the eyelashes and/or haired margin of the eyelid rub the eyeball. Entropion is always accompanied by runny eyes and pain, squinting, conjunctivitis, and inflammation of the cornea. Constant rubbing of the cornea by the hair can lead to tiny defects, such as a chronic state of irritation of the conjunctiva (red eye) and flowing tears.
Affected animals react by squinting, referred to as blepharospasm. Mechanical rubbing of the eye by the hair can also develop into inflammations, followed by corneal ulceration and scarring – which in turn reduce visual acuity of the affected dog. In severe cases, keratohelcosis or corneal ulceration that develops can burst, punching a hole in the cornea. This is a very serious ailment that can lead to loss of the eye.
There are several forms of eyelid abnormalities that can occur:
A. Congenital entropion:
B. Acquired entropion:
Acquired entropion develops as a sequela of an injury of the eyes that causes scarring, or some other painful ailment of the eyes that develops into spastic entropion. Adult dogs may develop another form known as age-related or senile entropion.
C. Spastic entropion:
Secondary to a chronic irritation or pain, the consequence of spastic entropion is that the dog begins to squint and/or blink excessively. This form of painful entropion is easy to diagnose. A vet simply applies a local anesthetic to suppress the pain, upon which the dog opens its eye. A checkup is critical, since it allows the vet to narrow down and identify the kind of entropion, and appropriately treat the source of pain and inflammation.
D. Senile entropion:
This form of age-related entropion occurs in adult dogs following laxity of muscular tonus, which results in loss of horizontal tension in the eyelids and their ability to protect the eye. Thereafter, the respective eyelid tends to invert.
# Inverting of the eyelids, mostly the lower ones
# Foreign body sensation in the eye, with the dog rubbing it with the paws
# Excessive blinking, flowing tears
# Sensitivity to light
# Squinting of affected eye, which is held tightly closed
# Chronic irritation of the conjunctiva
# Conjunctivitis, eye is red and runny
# Corneal erosion/wear
# Cornea susceptible to infections
# Formation of corneal ulcers
# Pathologic vasculogenesis
# Suppuration (heavy mucoid or pus eye)
# Sticky eyes
# Loss of appetite
# Affected puppies stop gaining weight
There is no prophylactic treatment. The fact is that dogs with congenital entropion should simply not be used in a breeding program! Only an operation can correct such an eyelid abnormality. Ocular ailments should never be treated with chamomile, since that dries out the eyes and promotes irritation.
A. Tacking – a temporary solution
The main purpose of eye tacking is to hinder serious damage and/or prevent chronic inflammation of the eye and possible corneal opacity. This is not a surgical procedure. In almost 90% of the cases, tacking (or gathering) is a temporary solution that may need to be repeated. In the first year of their life, the eyelids of affected Shar-Pei puppies are often tacked four times.
Congenital entropion surfaces in the early weeks of life, shortly after the pups open their eyes for the first time. Experienced breeders tend to tack or gather these eyelids right then, typically without any local anesthetic. Since this is a recurring condition, these pups may be tacked again before being sold.
B. Surgical correction :
There are a multitude of eyelid syndromes that lead to inversion or entropion, each calling for a specific surgical procedure to treat the source of the problem. No topical ointments or drops are effective for healing the resulting inflammation. Only surgery offers a long-term solution.
An entropion operation takes time, and it is done under local anesthesia for cases with a good prognosis. Excessive eyelid tissue is removed along with muscle under the eye to shorten the eyelid laterally. This weakens the eye’s annular sphincter muscle. Suturing the resulting wounds helps strengthen the canthus (corner of the eye). A special three suture procedure creates outward tension in such a way that the lids evert or roll out away from the eyeball. An antibiotic is injected into the wound to preclude any infection.
The symptoms disappear quickly after an operation, since the cornea is no longer irritated. It is important for the animal to wear a lampshade collar for typically two weeks after the operation. The most common postoperative problem is that the eyelids do not function perfectly, especially in dogs that have had entropion for a long time.
First and foremost – a total ban on breeding with entropion carriers should be instituted.
Buyers beware! Check for this hereditary disease when picking a puppy! Make sure the eyelids are open and the eyeball is a shiny brown, without any signs of opacity/cloudiness. Insist on a written guaranty from the breeder that the parents are free of eye diseases, free from entropion!
I strongly urge the VDH and pedigree clubs like the 1st DSPC 85 e.V. and the Club for Exotic Purebreds (CER e.V.) to start a register and record all necessary details of dogs with congenital entropion, such as the ancestry, breeding stock, and the breeders. This register should naturally be available to all potential & current owners of such dogs.
To special judges and breed judges, I recommend paying due attention in coming years when judging Shar-Pei to see if they have entropion and/or have undergone corrective surgery. Such animals should be banned from participating in shows or competitions.
Notes to the FCI Breed Standard No. 309D state: “Any Shar-Pei with physical repair of especially the flews and eyelids shall be excluded from competitions.”
Do not maintain silence!
I sincerely urge all owners of Shar-Pei suffering from entropion to participate in a study of this congenital ailment.
I would be happy to hear from you of your experiences. Do mention the breeders and pedigree of your affected Shar-Pei.
Hanspeter F. Kobold
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