Canine Distichiasis

by Naomi Millburn
    Dogs of both genders can experience distichiasis.

    Dogs of both genders can experience distichiasis.

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    Although your dog's eyelashes might not strike you as anything that could potentially lead to an ailment, that simply isn't true. Distichiasis is a relatively typical disorder in the canine world, and arises from the improper placement of some lashes. In this situation, select eyelashes appear on the lids' inside portions.

    If you observe tiny eyelashes popping out from interior sections of your pet's eyelids, distichiasis could be the culprit. These additional lashes can show up on the bottom eyelid, the top eyelid and sometimes even both. The problem with these eyelashes arises in their potential to persistently massage against a poor dog's eyes and trigger uncomfortable inflammation, along with other symptoms. Unlike with dogs, distichiasis is rare in felines.

    Not all dogs with distichiasis necessarily make their symptoms obvious. Remember that various factors come into play to determine the intensity of the issue -- think the number of additional lashes, or perhaps even their texture. Some symptoms that are frequently linked to distichiasis are eye redness, watery discharge, blinking frequently and keeping the eyes partially shut. You might even see your pet constantly touching his eye using his paw, or trying to massage his eye over random items throughout your household.

    Several dog breeds are more vulnerable to distichiasis than others, which indicates that the condition might have a genetic component. Some of the dog breeds that are commonly affected by distichiasis are shih tzus, Lhasa apsos, American cocker spaniels, English bulldogs and collies. Despite that, the disorder is a possibility for any dog. It also tends to be more common in younger individuals.

    If you have any reason to suspect distichiasis in your pooch, bring your cutie to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Vets sometimes can determine the presence of the condition just by carefully looking at a dog's eyes. If your dog has distichasis and you don't get him veterinary care, it could bring upon problems such as corneal ulcers. Corneal ulcers, in turn, could induce loss of vision. Some common veterinary management options for the ailment are regular and frequent plucking sessions, permanent extraction via electrolysis and the routine application of lubricating formula to minimize discomfort. Your veterinarian can make the call on what management option is most suitable for your pet's specific case.

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    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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