What is entropion in cats?
Entropion refers to a rolling inward of the eyelids. This causes the hairs on the eyelid and eyelashes to rub on the surface of the eye itself. This can cause cats significant pain and can lead to ulceration and blindness if not corrected.
Feline entropion may affect multiple or single eyelids and may be obvious or quite subtle. In cats, the condition is relatively uncommon, but when it does occur, it is the lower eyelids that are usually affected.
Symptoms of entropion in cats
Entropion is painful, as the hairs on the outside of the eyelid cause scratches or abrasions on the surface of the eye. You may notice that your cat is squinting due to the pain and produces more tears, leading to wetting of the fur in the affected area of the eyelid. A mucoid discharge from the eyes may also be present in some cases of entropion.
Sometimes, the scratches will turn into ulcers on the cornea (surface of the eye). This causes severe pain, and the eye may appear cloudy. Left untreated, corneal ulcers can become infected and lead to scarring, reduced vision or even loss of an eye.
What causes entropion in cats?
Entropion can be a hereditary condition, usually in short-nosed breeds such as Persians, or in kittens with abnormally small eyes.
Entropion in cats is more likely to be acquired due to swelling around the eyes following an infection, eyelid spasm due to eye pain or due loss of weight (body condition) and sinking of the eyes in older cats. Feline entropion can also be seen as secondary to conditions like conjunctivitis or keratitis.
Treatment of entropion in cats
Medical management of entropion may help to manage some of the symptoms but will not cure the problem. Eye drops may be used to treat infections or corneal ulcers and eye lubrications will provide some comfort for your cat.
Correction may include temporary eyelid tacking in kittens, to alleviate discomfort and prevent damage to the eyes while the kitten is still growing.
In adult cats, surgical removal of excess tissue in the eyelid will be required to prevent them from rolling in and rubbing on the eye.
At Animal Trust, we have a number of experienced surgeons who can carry out this procedure for cats with entropion. Our up front and fixed vet pricing structure ensures you will not have any unexpected costs associated with the procedure.
The cost of entropion surgery depends on the severity of the case. For surgery on up to 2 eyelids, our price is £469, with an additional £189 if more than 2 eyelids require correction. This includes eye drops, buster collar and pain relief to go home with, plus post operation checkups. If infection or corneal ulceration is present at the time of surgery, additional medication may be required at a further £20-40.
Entropion surgery recovery for cats
Following surgery for entropion, your cat may be a bit drowsy for 24 hours after the anaesthetic. They will need to wear a buster collar to prevent rubbing at their eyes. This usually needs to stay on for 10-14 days after surgery and we recommend that cats are kept indoors during this time.
As with any surgery, infections and suture reactions are possible, so we like to see your cat back after a few days and then around 10 days post-surgery to check that all is well.
The stitches used will absorb and come out naturally after a few weeks.
Preventing entropion in cats
Prevention of entropion is not always possible, however, there are some things that you can do to minimise your cat’s chances of acquiring the condition:
- Take your cat for a check up with the vet if you notice any pain, swelling or discharge from their eyes. Prompt treatment of any infection may avoid eyelid spasm and secondary entropion.
- Monitor your cat’s weight, especially as they get older. Some conditions causing weight loss may be successfully managed and avoid the loss of fat pads and eye sinking in older cats.
- Avoid breeding from cats who have suffered from entropion as kittens as they may pass the condition on to their offspring.