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Ectropion in Dogs

Ectropion in dogs is a condition when the eyelids tend to droop or roll out.  It can occur in either one or even both eyes and usually affects the lower eyelids.

Ectropion will affect the conjunctival tissues that line the inner surface of the eyelids and will cover the entire eyeball.  The result is dry eyes and conjunctivitis.

The surface of the eye or the cornea may also dry out, which can lead to corneal inflammation or corneal ulcers.

Corneal damage can also impair your dog’s vision.

All of these conditions are painful for your pup.

Ectropion is usually diagnosed in puppies that are less than one year old.

Ectropion is usually inherited and is common in dogs with droopy skin.

Breeds That Are More Pre-disposed to Ectropion:

  • dog with ectropian droopy eyesSt. Bernard
  • Great Danes
  • Bullmastiffs
  • Newfoundland
  • Cocker spaniel
  • Bloodhound
  • Bulldog
  • Basset Hound


In addition to the high occurrence of Ectropion in certain breeds, the disease might also be a result of the following:

  • Injury to the eye
  • Damage it the nerve
  • Injured Cornea
  • Facial nerve paralysis
  • Infection of the eye tissue
  • Scarring as a result of an injury
  • Surgical overcorrection of ectropion
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neuromuscular disease


  • Droopy eyelids (lower)
  • Redness in and around the eyes
  • Tearing
  • Eye infections
  • Pink eye
  • Conjunctivitis
  • The dog may paw at his eye
  • Brown staining underneath the eye


Your veterinarian will conduct a full physical and visual exam to assess the condition of the eye.

In older dogs, urine and blood tests might be taken to see if there is an unseen cause for the condition.

Corneal staining can help determine if there was corneal ulceration.

You may receive a recommendation of nerve or muscle biopsy, if nerve damage seems to be the cause.


Depending on the severity of the ectropion, there are different treatment options.

In most cases, the inflammation can be treated with vet recommended eye drops, and some ointments are also helpful.

Surgery is typically recommended if the dog is suffering from chronic pinkeye or damage to the cornea.

The procedure involves removing part of the drooping lid and then sewing the lid back together.

A veterinarian can usually perform the procedure.

In severe cases, an ophthalmologist might be needed to perform the corrective procedure.


The prognosis for Ectropion is very positive.

Most surgeries will correct the droopy eye.

Your dog might have to undergo two surgeries, to avoid over-correction.   This will usually occur when there is additional swelling or tissue inflammation of the treated eye.

The medical treatment for ectropion is usually for the rest of your pup’s life.

If the Ectropion is treated on an older dog and there was corneal scarring, there tends to be diminished vision.

Can Pet Insurance Help With Ectropion?

If you have any of the breeds that are pre-disposed to ectropion, eye exams generally are recommended when your dog is a puppy.

Pet insurance can be very helpful to cover many of these costs, but only if your puppy or dog doesn’t yet have the condition and it is then called pre-existing.

With the cost of treatment ranging from $325 to $1,475 per eye, pet insurance plans like Healthy Paws can help offset up to 90% of the costs.

Pet insurance can help with not only the cost of testing and all the medical bills for this disease but also any related health conditions that might occur.


The best way to prevent ectropion is to discourage breeding dogs with severe ectropion because it is passed along to the offspring.

Further, breeds that are pre-disposed to ectropion should be tested as puppies to get treatment started right away if any of the symptoms have occurred.

Pet insurance can certainly help offset some of these costs as it would for any breed-specific conditions.

If you are looking for a new pet insurance company that covers hereditary or congenital issues, our list of the best pet insurance companies is a great place to start.

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