Breeds predisposed to extra eyelashes
Many breeds can develop extra eyelashes. At Animal Eye Care we see the following breeds we have listed in alphabetical order: Bull Dog, Cocker Spaniel (American & English), Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzer, Pekingese, Retriever (Golden), Retriever (Labrador), Samoyeds, Shetland sheepdog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Clinical signs of extra eyelashes
Many dogs with extra eyelashes may not show clinical signs. If the extra eyelashes are soft, and small, they float in the tear film, so they do not rub and irritate the cornea. However if the eye goes dry, or develops an ulcer, then these small hairs can cause clinical symptoms. If the extra eyelashes are large and stiff, then clinical signs will include watery discharge, mucky discharge, squinting, blinking and sometimes corneal ulceration and scarring.
It is important to avoid breeding with dogs with large extra eyelashes as this trait may be passed onto future generations. For most breeds of dogs the mode of inheritance is unknown. However some breeds and lines within breeds are more commonly affected suggesting a strong inherited trait.
Currently extra eyelashes are not listed as an inherited disease as part of the ACES. If we see extra eyelashes on an ACES examination they are noted on the form.