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Trichiasis - Issue Description

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Issue Description

Trichiasis in dogs is hair from the eyelid growing in the wrong direction and rubbing on the eye, causing irritation. It usually occurs at the lateral upper eyelid, especially in the English Cocker Spaniel. Trichiasis also refers to hair from a nasal fold rubbing on the eye. This type of trichiasis can be flattened by rubbing petroleum jelly onto it, but surgery is sometimes necessary for permanent correction.


Eyelash disorders are common in dogs and rare in cats. Problems tend to occur most commonly in young dogs. Any breed can be affected; however, some breeds are predisposed--breeds with prominent facial folds such as the Pekingese, Pug, and Bulldog frequently have facial fold trichiasis; most Cocker Spaniels have distichiasis to some degree; ectopic cilia are more common than average in the Dachshund, Lhasa apso, and Shetland Sheepdog, among other breeds.

Trichiasis From Facial Folds

  • Nasal corneal vascularization and pigmentation
  • Blepharospasm
  • Epiphora
  • Distichiasis

  • Asymptomatic in most animals.
  • If stiff, stout distichia are contacting the cornea, blepharospasm, epiphora, corneal vascularization, pigmentation, and ulceration may develop.
  • Ectopic Cilia

  • Ocular pain
  • Severe blepharospasm
  • Epiphora
  • Often cause superficial corneal ulcers with a linear appearance (corresponding to lid movement) on the superior cornea. These ulcers are resistant to healing until the underlying problem is diagnosed and corrected.

  • Diagnosis

    Due to its anatomical structure, the eye permits direct observation of many pathologic processes as they develop. The vast majority of ophthalmic conditions can be diagnosed with a few relatively simple tools and techniques that almost every veterinarian use in clinical practice.

    Dog Breeds Prone to Trichiasis

  • Bulldog
  • English and American Cocker Spaniel
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Pekingese
  • Pug
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Standard Poodle
  • Toy Poodle
  • Treatment

    Canine trichiasis conditions may be treated easily in some dogs with the implementation of medication alone, but some other more serious condition may require more effort. Some of the standard treatment may involves using ophthalmic ointments, antibiotics or lubricants to coat the hairs with oil to protect the cornea, closure of the medial canthal (inner eyelid margin), surgical correction to remove the disturbing hairs, and removal of the affected eyelashes with electrology or specialized laser.

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