Shar Pei Eye Problems
It is a sad fact that most vets believe that ALL CSP need entropion surgery. This is a breed that has deep-set
eyes,and they do tend to tear, this is not necessarily a sign of problems. A problem would be eyes swollen shut,
and/or constant pawing and rubbing at the eyes.
Entropion is when the excess skin surrounding the eye causes the eyelids to roll in and the eyelashes scratch
the surface of the cornea. This constant irritation will ulcerate the cornea and unless treated will eventually
lead to the dog losing his eyesight in the affected eye.
The surgery itself, generally, consists of a small section of the eyelid being removed so that the eyelashes are
no longer in contact with the cornea. In extreme cases, surgery sometimes has to be done on the actual skin on the
head above the eyes. It is highly recommended that should entropion surgery be needed, it should never (except in
extreme cases) be done before at least one year of age. Up until a year, a dog is still growing and the shape of
the head and size of the head can change dramatically. Surgery done in too young of a dog frequently has to be
corrected when the dog reaches maturity.
It should be noted that CSP’s eyes can be very sensitive to allergies and can
swell shut due to environmental allergens (dust, cigarette smoke), this can cause the appearance of entropion
but doing the surgery will not solve the problem. Tracking down the offending allergen and removing it from
the environment will correct the problem.
Entropian can also be cause by stress – commonly referred to as "stress entropion" – this is again a temporary
situation and once the dog is removed from the stressful situation, the eyes will recover. If their cornea gets a
scratch, or if they bump their eye again the tissue surrounding the eye can swell, causing the eye to shut, tacking
is advised for these situations, as it is a temporary problem.
Cherry eye – protrusion of the third eyelid - is another fairly common problem in the breed. The gland for the
third eyelid becomes unattached and can be seen a round red blob in the inner corner of the eye. When particularly
large it can in fact obscure the entire eye. Whilst it doesn’t hurt the dog or affect it in any way it is unsightly
and if left untreated can cause problems.
Treatment consists of surgery to place the gland back into place and tie it down
with sutures. This type of surgery is generally very successful though there are rare occurrences when the
gland pops back out. If this should happen then it is generally recommended that the entire gland be removed.
Should the gland itself be removed then drops have to be put in the dog’s eye for the rest of its life to
prevent what is commonly referred to as "dry" eye.
It should be noted that if one of the glands comes lose, the other eye will also be affected. Should this happen
to your dog it is worth trying to wait an extra couple of weeks, if possible, to see if the other gland goes so
your dog doesn’t have to go through two doses of anesthesia in a short period of time. Unfortunately, there is no
way "preventive" surgery can be done, the gland actually has to come out before it can be repaired.
Written by Jerry Doka For More Information Visit Dr Jeff Vidt Specializing in the
Chinese Shar Pei http://www.drjwv.com/