With their long fur, perky ears and sweet faces, Yorkshire terriers are undeniably adorable. Unfortunately, these diminutive dogs can sometimes develop serious eye problems. Although some tearing is normal, if you’ve noticed discharge around your dog’s eyes, consult a veterinarian to make sure your dog's peepers are perfect.
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Entropion is a congenital defect where the eyelid rolls inwards, causing the lid and lashes to scrape against the eye. According to the 2005 Merck Veterinary Manual, entropion is the most frequently inherited eyelid defect among dogs. This painful condition can be present at birth or develop as a Yorkie ages. The North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine reveals that symptoms of entropion include discharge and squinting. Yorkies with severe entropion may not be able to open their eyes, and permanent damage can occur if entropion is not quickly corrected by surgery.
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Distichiasis or distichia is a condition whereby abnormally growing eyelashes continually rub against the eye. These pesky lashes can irritate your Yorkie's eyes, creating abnormal discharge and pain. Some Yorkshire terriers have fine eyelashes that can be moved away, needing no further treatment. Other Yorkies will do just fine if their pet parents regularly administer eye drops and lubricants to reduce irritation. For more serious cases, a veterinarian can freeze and destroy lashes follicle via cryosurgery.
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Debris is a common cause of eye irritation and discharge. Windy days can stir up sand, dirt, glass shards and chemicals that may end up in your pet's eyes. Having your Yorkie in the car while you drive can also present unexpected dangers. "Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by particles of debris," warns the Humane Society of the United States on its Travelling by Car with Pets webpage.
Maintain Your Yorkie's Eye Health
yorkshire image by jonnysek from Fotolia.com
Now that you know Yorkies are prone to developing certain eye conditions, it's up to you to monitor your dog's health. Routinely examine his eyes, tear ducts, lids and lashes for abnormalities. The eyes should be clear, moist and free of redness or irritation. Immediately contact your veterinarian if you notice unusual discharge or other possible signs of infection or irritation. Your Yorkie may be referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist for certain conditions. If a specialist is needed, seek out someone who is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists to ensure your Yorkie receives the best possible care.
- North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Entropion
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Ninth Edition; Cynthia M. Kahn, Editor
- North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine: Distichiasis
- Humane Society of the United States: Travelling by Car With Pets
Florida native Janet Winikoff has been writing since 1984. Specializing in animal protection, she also covers women's, children's and social issues, with articles appearing in "Animal Sheltering," "San Diego Parent" and "Healthy Choices." Winikoff holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from The American University in Washington.