Q. What are abnormal eyelashes in dogs?
Abnormal eyelashes in dogs (also known as distichia or ectopic cilia) are small hairs that grow along the eyelid in the wrong direction. The hairs may grow in toward the eye (ectopic cilia). The abnormal eyelashes (distichia or ectopic cilia) are genetic and usually affect young dogs. Cats may get abnormal eyelashes, but they are much more common in dogs. Learn more about Eye Conditions in Cats.
Q. What will I see with abnormal eyelashes in my dog?
Sometimes, abnormal eyelashes are very soft and do not cause irritation. In many cases; however, they rub on the sensitive eye tissues and cause irritation. This feels like a “hair in the eye” for most dogs. These hairs may also cause wounds, ulcers, scar tissue or other changes to your pet’s eye. Your pet may experience squinting, tearing, rubbing or unwillingness to open the eye. Most of the time, you won’t actually see the hairs because they are so small.
Q. How do I know if the abnormal eyelashes are there?
The hairs are very small and you may not be able to see them. The most irritating hairs are the ones that grow in (ectopic cilia). These are under the eyelid, so you can’t see them at all. A full eye exam is recommended if your pet has squinting, tearing or corneal scratches. The abnormal eyelashes are seen with high magnification, used by our veterinary ophthalmologist, Dr. Davis.
Q. How are abnormal eyelashes in dogs treated?
Abnormal eyelashes in dogs (distichia or ectopic cilia) that are causing irritation should be permanently treated. If the abnormal eyelashes are growing into the eye under the eyelid, these are surgically removed using tiny incisions. This procedure requires high magnification and specialized training (veterinary ophthalmologist) to prevent damage to the eyelid. If the hairs are growing down (distichia), a freezing procedure is performed to treat the abnormal eyelashes permanently.
Q. Do abnormal eyelashes in dogs occur again?
Most cases of abnormal eyelashes in dogs do not recur after treatment.
Q. I think my dog has abnormal eye lashes, what should I do?
If you think your dog has abnormal eyelashes or eye irritation, you should schedule an appointment at our office. We would love to meet your pets and talk with you about any eye condition your pet may have. Come visit us!
Abnormal Eyelashes in Dogs – Photos