Entropion, or eyelid entropion, is a common eyelid problem in dogs that can occur in many different breeds.1 It is most often experienced by Shar Peis, Bulldogs, Retrievers, and Rottweilers. Most cases of entropion in young dogs have a genetic cause; however, other causes are also possible. This painful condition happens when the eyelid rolls inwards, causing facial hair and/or eyelashes to rub against the cornea of the eye. It can lead to ulcers, scarring, and pain.
Entropion surgery corrects the eyelid and, in the majority of cases, only one surgery is required. Young puppies have a different treatment because the formation and growth of the skull and eyelids can change over time, meaning that typical entropion surgery may only provide a short-term solution in very young dogs.
The cost of the procedure varies according to the severity of the entropion, how many procedures are required, and also the breed of the dog, with costs ranging from $800 to $2,000.
The Importance of Entropion Surgery
Entropion in young dogs is usually a genetic disease of the eye that causes the eyelid to roll inwards. The hair of the eyelid and surrounding areas then rubs against the cornea of the eye. Initially, this can lead to discomfort in the eye that will cause a dog to squint and may cause the eye to water.
Early symptoms include squinting, eye-watering, and increased rubbing and scratching of the eye. If the problem persists or is not corrected, the rubbing and the hairs touching the eye can lead to ulceration of the cornea as well as perforations. Entropion can occur in both eyes, although it may be more evident or noticed earlier in just one eye.
The problem is usually spotted and diagnosed in dogs before they reach 12 months of age. The initial surgery is normally successful in correcting the problem, but some cases may require two or more procedures to ensure that the eyelid has been corrected properly. This is done to avoid overcorrection on the first surgery. However, because the head and eyelids have not finished growing at a young age, dogs are not usually treated until they are between 6 and 12 months old.
Scarring to the cornea can be permanent, which leads to a vision deficit in the dog, so early intervention is important.
How Much Does Entropion Surgery Cost?
The surgery used to correct entropion is called blepharoplasty, and it is most often performed on dogs when they reach 12 months of age. By this time, the dog should have reached its adult size, so there is less risk of the head continuing to develop and the entropion returning.
Although entropion can occur on just one eyelid, it can also occur on both, in which case the procedure would need to be carried out on both eyelids. This would increase the cost compared to surgery on one eyelid.
The size of the dog can also have a bearing on the cost of the procedure. Additional anesthesia is required for larger dogs, and the procedure can also take longer. The procedure can be treated with a single surgery, but some veterinary surgeons prefer to conduct at least two operations. This helps to prevent overcorrecting the problem, which can cause a condition known as ectropion. Ectropion means that the eyelid rolls outwards, and it can prevent the eye from closing completely. Dogs with ectropion may not require corrective surgery, but they may develop conjunctivitis. If it is severe, it can prevent the eye from closing fully and can dry out the eye.
Although costs do vary, you should expect to pay between $800 and $2,000 with a typical price for the procedure being $1,400.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Generally, all costs associated with the surgery should be included in the estimate of the surgery. If the problem returns, you may need to pay for additional surgeries. The vet might prescribe eye drops and painkillers to help ease any pain or discomfort, and if these aren’t covered by insurance, you will have to pay prescription costs. A protective recovery collar is always recommended for at least 10 days to avoid your dog rubbing or scratching the eyelids after surgery.
Otherwise, there aren’t really any additional costs to entropion surgery. Your dog may take some time to return to normal, and you may need to provide additional care during this time, but there are no aids or equipment to help.
How Often is Entropion Surgery Required?
If your dog suffers from entropion, surgery will always be necessary to alleviate discomfort and prevent future problems. For most dogs, entropion surgery will only be needed once. However, in some cases, entropion returns later in life, in which case your pup might need to undergo surgery again.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Entropion Surgery?
Although you should check your policy specifically, entropion is usually covered by pet insurance, as long as it was diagnosed before the policy was taken out. There are a number of exceptions with some pet insurance policies: conditions that are especially common in certain breeds and that the insurer won’t cover. However, entropion is not normally one of these conditions.
Policies do not normally cover pre-existing conditions except where the dog has been symptom-free for at least 12 months, and a vet has declared them cured. Entropion is normally diagnosed when a puppy is very young, so owners are advised to get insurance as soon as they adopt or buy a dog. If the puppy is diagnosed with entropion once the policy has been signed and following any initial waiting period, it should usually be covered by the insurer.
However, if you have missed this period and your pup is in need of entropion surgery, these are some of the best insurance companies for pre-existing conditions:
What to Do for Your Dog’s Eyes Before and After Surgery
Entropion in puppies can correct itself before the puppy reaches 12 months, in which case surgery will not be required. However, if a puppy is diagnosed with entropion, they may need a procedure to correct the problem until they are fully grown. Eyelid tacking (temporary correction with sutures) can be especially helpful for Shar Pei puppies. When your vet diagnoses the problem, they will advise you on how to best care for your pup’s eyes in the meantime. You may need to apply drops or balm to the affected eyes if they become sore and painful or if your puppy has discharge from the eye. Similarly, the surgeon will prescribe an ointment or balm and may prescribe painkillers, to administer after the procedure and you should always follow your vet or surgeon’s advice in this regard.
Entropion is most often a genetic condition that affects the eyelids of dogs, as well as cats, horses, and people. The eyelid rolls inwards, allowing the fur around the eye to rub against the cornea. This condition can cause discomfort and pain, and if left untreated, it can lead to ulceration of the cornea as well as permanent scarring.
The procedure to correct entropion costs between $800 and $2,000 depending on the breed of dog, whether the procedure is required on one or both eyes, and the severity of the problem.