Distichiasis (Extra Eyelashes) in dogs

This is a congenital condition in which an extra row of eyelashes grows from the eyelid and is directed inward, rubbing against the surface of the eye. If left untreated, the constant irritation leads to corneal abrasion. The condition may not be noticed until the puppy is grown.

Extra eyelashes are seen most often in Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, and Pekingese, but all dog breeds can be affected.

Aberrant eyelashes that grow inward on the upper and lower eyelids produce the same type of problem.

Treatment: The offending eyelashes should be removed and their roots destroyed through cryotherapy (chemical freezing), electrolysis, or surgery. Plucking them with blunt-nosed tweezers provides temporary relief, but the eyelashes grow back in about four weeks. Dogs who have had their eyelashes permanently removed cannot be shown in conformation.