Distichiasis

Nico is the world’s nicest 3-year and 9-month-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog that was presented for a wellness exam and vaccines. Upon examining his eyes we noticed something that shouldn’t be there. Can you see it?

Upon discussing this with the owner it was reported that Nico’s eyes have always been a bit “goopy”. Look closely and you can see eyelashes growing the wrong direction out of the margin of his eyelids (green arrows).

This is a common finding in dogs known as “Distichiasis” where eye lashes are growing from the oil secreting glands in the eyelid. The oil gland opening points toward the cornea and this is why the eyelash ends up pointing that way. Small thin hairs with no clinical signs (goopy eyes) don’t need treatment, but large stiff lashes like this need to be removed to prevent damage to the cornea and chronic irritation. This is a procedure best performed by an eye specialist, so Nico was referred to a Board Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist for treatment. This involved very low intensity electrocautery of the hair follicle followed by removal of the hair. Although Nico may grow more of these, he will be much more comfortable now that they have been removed. **You never know what a “routine” wellness exam may discover in your dog!**