The most common problem associated with Bullmastiff puppies eyelids are abnormal conformation and eyelid tumors. Abnormal conformation simply means anything other than a nice, tight-fitting almond-shaped eyelid shape. Many breeds of dogs are bred to have unusual lid conformation, such as bloodhounds, St. Bernards, and flat-faced breeds such as Pugs. Sometimes the unusual lid conformation leads to medical problems that damage the eye. Some of these conditions are:
Entropian is a condition of the eyelid turning inwards, and the eyelashes causing irritability to the eye. It can be hereditary, or it may be caused from an obstruction or irritation to the eye such as an ulcer, a scratch, dirt or bug in the eye.
Although this can be very irritating for the dog, it is not life threatening, and correction is usually very simple, with either medications or a easy operation to remove the rolling skin which pulls the eyelid straight.
A spastic entropian’ can be caused by an injury to the eye, causing the sudden onset of an apparent entropian. Naturally, an injury causes swelling, and if the swelling is at the level of the eyelid, it will cause them to turn in and rub on the eye. In a case such as this, the condition of Entropian is not genetic, and may be quite able to be corrected without major surgery depending upon the extreme of the condition.
If the onset of an entropionated eye has occurred overnight, and your vet suggests an operation, then a second opinion would be advised. Please also contact your breeder to enquire whether this condition has occurred in their lines.
Entropion is treated by surgical correction (“blepharoplasty”), which is essentially plastic surgery. Excessive folds and sections of facial skin are removed, and the eyelids tightened. It is uncommon for entropion to recur after surgery unless the entropion is quite involved, particularly in the Shar Pei breed. Very young puppies with entropion will often have “lid tacking” performed (rather than plastic surgery), in which temporary lid sutures are placed to roll out the lids. Often, these puppies do not require permanent plastic surgery once they have matured and “grown into” their facial skin. Permanent plastic surgery is usually not performed in puppies less than 5 or 6 months of age, giving the Bullmastiff puppy some time to develop its mature head conformation.
Some Bullmastiff kennel unfortunately are sometimes too quick to want to perform an operation for this condition, without first trying to determine the actual cause.
Bullmastiff puppies with inherited entropion should not be bred, as they can pass the trait on to their offspring. The Canine Eye Registration Foundation publishes a list of breed-specific breeding recommendations for purebred dogs with entropion.
If you suspect that entropion is present in your pet, please consult with your Bullmastiff breeders. Your doctor may elect to have your pet referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist for further evaluation and possible surgical treatment.
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