Thursday, 15 March 2012

The eye specialists - their view on ectropion + entropion

Ectropion... not something you'd wish on your best friend

This morning I asked the BVA for some input from opthalmic experts regarding ectropion/entropion given the widespread confusion regarding its potential for discomfort and worse in the canine eye.

Here is the response:

Ian Mason, Chief Panellist of the BVA/KC/ISDS Eye Scheme said:

"When ectropion is present the eyelids, blink reflex and tear film are unable to properly shield and lubricate the eye. The lower conjunctival sac is exposed to air, dust, debris and bacteria resulting in inflammation of the conjunctiva. In some cases corneal changes may also occur. Entropion may further complicate the condition. Published data as to the incidence of ectropion in various breeds are not available, although it would seem apparent that it is highly prevalent in some breeds."

Following Pedigree Dogs Exposed in 2008, the Kennel Club’s Breed Standards and Conformation Group (now a subgroup of the KC’s Dog Health Group) met with the high profile breed representatives to discuss a number of issues relating to conformation, health and welfare. Professor Sheila Crispin, BVA/KC/ISDS eye panellist (and Chief Panellist at the time), provided some detailed information on health issues relating to the eye, which included the following comments on eyelid anatomy:

"Poor eyelid anatomy, which is a largely a consequence of the anatomy of the head and the excessive amounts of skin. The majority of dogs with this type of head shape have a degree of conformational eyelid deformity.

"The conformational deformities of the eyelids and poor support at the lateral canthus (the outer corner of the eye) can produce a combination of entropion (eyelid turning in) and ectropion (eyelid turning out). The deformities result in a so-called 'diamond eye' with a characteristic kink in the central portion of the upper and lower eyelids and, most commonly, upper lid entropion and lower lid ectropion.
 

  • Because of the poor eyelid anatomy, the dog cannot blink effectively, so that there is inadequate distribution of the tear film and a tendency to develop corneal complications (exposure keratopathy and desiccation). Excessive evaporative tear film loss can exacerbate the situation.
  • The poor eyelid conformation also means that tear drainage may be compromised as the upper and lower puncta (drainage holes) are malpositioned. This may result in tear overflow (epiphora) and unsightly tear staining.          
  • The entropion is a possible source of corneal damage and pain because of direct mechanical abrasion of the cornea from eyelashes and skin hairs.The ectropion results in chronic conjunctival exposure and drying - chronic conjunctivitis and a greater likelihood of infection result.

"It is important to recognise that such poor eyelid conformation is a source of pain and chronic low grade misery for affected dogs. The surgical correction of such defects can be expensive - and time consuming, as more than one operation may be needed."

21 comments:

  1. Well done, Jemima, that is an excellent illustration of why certain breeds should not have to suffer baggy, or saggy, eyes.
    It always seems to be the show dogs that have this problem, probably because breeders think they look more cute that way. It all comes down, as always, to breeding for looks.
    I can't imagine a working cocker or springer having those eyes.
    Note that the working Clumbers have much tighter (or normal) eyes.
    Julia Lewis

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  2. Yet, the show dog breeders rebuttal will be something like this...
    a.) "It's in the breed standard!"
    b.)"Their eyes have been this way for years!"
    c.) "I can tell you they aren't in any pain."
    d.) Or my favorite, "That man has no idea what he's talking about! He doesn't even breed Bulldogs/Clumbers/Neos...ect,ect."
    I'm really happy that I show and support a breed that doesn't carry these issues.

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    1. Which breed do you breed?

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  3. Thanks for obtaining and posting this expert opinion.

    I find the anonymous postings on this blog increasingly frustrating as when you feel you've asked a perfectly reasonable question in response to criticism aimed directly at you (as you've bothered to put your name) only to be ignored as they're off to rant somewhere else.....it really doesn't endear one to the cause of the "nothing worng here" breed stalwarts!

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  4. Well done for posting this. I notice this is the thread with the fewest comments. Come on you people who rant on and on that Jemimah is something akin to a shape shifting fire breathing reptile, just what have you got to say to this? come on, reveal yourselves as the psychopaths you truly are.

    Oh and Barbara, typing this whilst I am extremely fatigued, the anonymous log in is just an easier way for me to post. I can't speak for others.

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    1. I thought the same thing as you with this entry having the fewest comments. I guess they can't really argue. Of course some breeders/showers will come out and say that the judges know more than the BVA and the dogs aren't in any pain!

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  5. As long as you're not ranting at me and then not responding again I don't really mind ;-)

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  6. it's more the anonymous tellings off or rants I object to but as you seem like a reasonable human being with what appears to be a sense of humour (and very tired) I'll let you off if you'll forgive my over generalisation ;-)

    ps my laptop got in a knot so I didn't mean to post twice if this appears more than once

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  7. I'm stunned that anyone would argue with this. Common sense should have brought this to everyone's attention years ago. Next thing you know the BVA will be privately scheming to eliminate pet ownership!

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  8. So this human has ectropion. The human has possibly the biggest gene pool in existence. How does this correlate to the cry for expanding the gene pool in dogs?

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  9. the picture of the man with "ectropion" is manipulated heavy degree, how serious is this????

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    1. Manipulated how? One eye has a yellow-orange chemical that allows injuries to be seen, they fluoresce. That's the only thing that is artificial in that photo.

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  10. I really appreciate the time you put in to educate all of us, thank you for providing an informed tutorial.

    H

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  11. I have flat out asked Ian Mason during examination if my dog with haw/ectropion was SUFFERING IN ANY WAY with that level of ectropion and he said NO.
    The level of clinical study into 'ectropion' as a stand alone issue (ie without entropion present)is woeful and where it exists, contains words like COULD, CAN and SOMETIMES. I tend to think that this is because, in the big scheme of things when considering eye issues, it is a relatively unimportant issue to invest time and money on. But now has become such a major issue and source of conflicting opinion between those in the dog world who appear to keep several breeds of dogs who display haw with relatively few eye issues to needing to be totally eradicated by the veterinary profession who have nothing in the way of hard factual evidence to support their stance. Only now they think appropriate to change their form for goodness sake and that's only because of recent events and politics! So now the onus is very much on the breeders of dogs with haw to prove what they think they already know and cough up to fund an independent study on effects of haw/ectropion on canine eye health, as there doesn't seem to be any hurry from the BVA to undertake one for free, despite all their 'concerns'!

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  12. Well, abnormal anatomy is abnormal anatomy and what makes for good eye health is well established.

    That said, I would agree that it would be worthwhile to measure and follow dogs in breeds highlighted for eyelid deformity to measure the degree of discomfort etc they suffer.

    I think it would be very unlikely to establish that ectropion causes no problems compared to a control group with no ectropion. But, yes, let's do the research.

    Jemima

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  13. Yes, Jemima, I am fully aware of that, but allowing for the fact that all pedigree dogs are in fact different, there has to be a little consideration paid to those features that make them different. Using the same analogy, a vet will tell you a dog with pricked up ears has far less likelihood to suffer from ear infections so the ideal anatomy for a canine ear is pricked up. Where is the campaign then to make all the breeds of dogs who have floppy ears make them be pricked up instead? This is a valid argument btw, of traditionally cropped breeds of dogs but lets not get into that. So, in your opinion, is it best for a particular breed of dog who bears floppy ears to be bred for those ears to be small, thin skinned and well placed, to be the best they can be for a floppy eared breed and given the best chance to avoid ear problems than one with thick skinned long heavy ears or instead you force that breed to make pricked up ears when they cannot achieve it? There seems to be a lot of 'give' on the side of pedigree dog breeders and commitment to make a breed the healthiest it can be for that breed, but no give on behalf of anyone else, particularly the veterinary profession, who are demanding an 'ideal state' apply to all breeds, which is of course unachievable and to the detriment of all.

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    1. All dogs where bred to serve a specific function, even though most of them don't have to do their original jobs anymore. The simplest of all parameters in the showring (and for the breeder) sould be: Is the dog in front of me still physically able to do what it was bred for? If the Bassett-Hound still had his nose on the dusty ground for miles on end following a trail, with ectropion like this he would suffer enourmously, his retina would be scratched, and in case of repeated work like this, he would eventually go blind. WIth a rbicage as deep as it is now (and the legs so short), he would never be able to work reliably in snowy winters, plus, in serious cold, his testivles would doubtlessly suffer from frost and chafing. So does his exaggerated modern physique affect his well-being?
      Long ears are indeed more prone for ear-infections, which is why terriers don't have them - but long ears also save the hunting-dog superficially from foxtails, burdocks, thorns etc. Again: the poor Bassett-Hounds ears are as long for no reason other that creativity on breeders' behalf, and if you look at old photographs of working Bassett Hounds 50 years ago, the ears never were as long as they are today.

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  14. Eye issues such as entropian and ectropion can certainly be problems, but there are degrees, and to say "excessive haw" is part of that issue, is a HUGE stretch between a problem and a non-problem. To be fair, you should should photos of people who have slightly sagging eyelids, of which there are many. The example shown above clearly has some issues which are not present in, say, the "excessive haw" of most basset hounds. There is clear inflammation in your photo which does not exist in many basset lids, certainly not in the dog that was disqualified at Crufts. And the yellowing? What is that? Medication? Poor example that does more to sensationalize and inflame an unnknowledgable public.

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  15. That picture's been photoshopped - it's a fake. Last time I looked at it, a few days ago, only one eye was droopy, and now both are.

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  16. Well spotted. I changed the pic. The first one showed one eye post-surgery so I swapped it out for the "before" pic.

    Both are genuine. Try googling "human ectropion".

    Jemima

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  17. An "assured breeder" for harlequin Great Danes has this problem in many of her show dogs. This is a fault according to the breed standard and is not as prevalent in fawn or black Great Danes (for example).

    How this woman ( and few others like her) who is an assured breeder allowed to exhibit their dogs with this medical condition is a wonder!!!

    Google for tamzdanes and you'll see it on the website.

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