If you've got a bulldog, you already know you own a walking vet bill. It's quite possible that your wrinkled buddy will require nip and tuck surgery on his eyelids -- not for cosmetic purposes, but to alleviate discomfort and improve his vision. A hereditary condition called entropion is common in bulldogs.
Entropion, which happens when the eyelid rolls inward, is often found in breeds that have wrinkled facial folds and prominent eyes. Who does that sound like?
You know how irritating it is to have something in your eye. With entropion, your poor bulldog feels the hair on the outside of his eyelid rubbing against his cornea. It probably makes you flinch just thinking about it. Your veterinarian must perform surgery to roll the eyelid back to its normal spot.
Bulldogs with entropion usually show evidence of it before their first birthday. Your dog's eyes tear, and he squints and rubs at them. His eyes appear inflamed. The irritation is constant, so it's obvious your pup is in pain and miserable. You should be able to see how the eyelid rubs against the cornea by simple observation. Entropion often affects both eyes.
Although you don't want your dog to suffer, some vets delay the surgery if the condition is diagnosed before the bulldog reaches full growth. In a growing puppy the face is still developing, and having the surgery before physical maturity could mean another stint under the scalpel at a later date. Among the many afflictions facing bulldogs is a sensitivity to anesthesia, so the fewer times your dog must be put under, the better.
After the diagnosis, your vet examines your dog to determine how a correction must be done. An over-correction or under-correction of entropion would mean additional surgery, so it's important to get it right the first time. She'll also examine your bulldog's eyes to see how much damage has been done to the corneas. If her tests reveal ulceration of the cornea, that requires treatment.
Generally, entropion surgery involves removing tissue under the eyes, then suturing these two sides together, which pulls down the eyelids. You'll receive antibiotic eye drops to put in your dog's eyes while he recuperates, and he'll wear an Elizabethan collar so he can't scratch the stitches. Although the surgery has as high success rate, additional surgeries might be needed if skin removal was extensive.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.