Flat nosed dogs such as Pugs, Pekingese, Shi-Tzus are commonly seen at Animal Eye Services. These dogs get numerous eye problems because their eyes tend to sit on the front of the skull without the benefit of protection by a deep boney socket as seen in other breeds with longer skulls.
There are several problems which arise from this conformation:
- Many have medial lower eyelid entropion which results in chronic irritation of the cornea by hairs from the eyelid and the development of a pigmented film over the cornea.
- Often their eyelid circumference is much larger than corneal circumference resulting in exposure of the tissues around the edge of the eye. These dogs can have a greater tendency to globe proptosis i.e. traumatic prolapse of the eyeball out between the eyelids and this can have catastrophic consequences for the eye i.e. tearing of the muscles around the outside resulting in inability to move the eyeball, and tearing of the optic nerve at the back of the eye resulting in permanent blindness.
- Often the exposure of the eyeball can result in failure to close the eyelids properly over the cornea, especially whilst the dog is sleeping resulting in dryness and secondary corneal disease.
The best treatment for preventing the long term problems associated with the brachycephalic conformation is a procedure known as a permanent medial canthorrhaphy. This procedure involves removing a small section of the upper and lower eyelids at the inside corner of the eyes and resuturing the eyelids together again resulting in a smaller eyelid margin circumference and correction of the medial lower lid entropion.