Photo of extra eyelashes, these are large hairs that are clearly visible.
What they are
Extra eyelashes are eyelashes that grow from small glands in the eyelid edges. These glands normally produce a fatty substance that helps lubricate the eyeball, but in some cases grow eyelashes. Extra eyelashes are also known as distichia – a double row of lashes.
Some dogs may have a single extra eyelash whereas other dogs can have multiple extra eyelashes. Using a hand held microscope veterinary ophthalmologists are able to diagnose extra eyelashes at the time of an Ophthalmic consultation or at the ACES (Australian Certification Examination Scheme) examination.
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.
Extra eyelash roots being removed surgically.
Treatment of extra eyelashes
Only extra eyelashes that are causing clinical problems should be treated. Plucking out the extra eyelashes without removing the root will only lead to the extra eyelash regrowing. At Animal Eye Care 2 types of procedures are used to remove the extra eyelash root: The root can be frozen or it can be directly cut out. Both techniques are performed by the veterinary ophthalmologist with an operating microscope. The operating microscope is essential for the ophthalmologist to see exactly where to cut.
Remember only extra eyelashes that are causing problems need to be treated.
Where does Animal Eye Care perform ACES?
Animal Eye Care does eye examination and ACES certification Monday to Saturday morning at our main clinic at East Malvern, with evening appointments Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Animal Eye Care also visits Essendon, Frankston, Geelong, Hallam, Werribee, Moe -Gippsland and in Darwin. A travelling fee is charged for these outclinics.
For all appointments and locations of different clinics please call Animal Eye Care – 03 9563 6488 or check out our website – www.animaleyecare.com.au.
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Our vision is to be the best and most respected Animal Eye Care practice in the World.