Distichia Removal Surgery: A Key to Ensure Best Eye Care For Dogs

Distichia is the abnormal growth of eyelashes in the eyelid margin rather than the eyelid skin. This condition is more prevalent in dogs and less common in cats. The main reason for eyelash growth is the presence of meibomian glands (oily glands) near the eyelid region. Therefore, it results in hair growth near or from the gland. And thus, the eyelashes protrude out of the eyelid margins. That hair is termed distichia (singular), and the condition is known as distichiasis.

However, apart from the oily glands near the eyelid region, hereditary factors also play a vital role in the growth of stray eyelashes. But thanks to the robust and latest veterinary surgical procedures. They ease the sufferings of the dogs and provide pain-free treatment to the furry pals. Therefore, the laser treatment is the best for the removal of distichia. First, it removes the extra eyelash by destroying the hair follicles with the help of a CO2 laser. Then, it targets the hair follicles at a single point, so it doesn't appear again.

What Are The Clinical Signs Of Distichia?

Depending upon the severity of the condition, the signs vary. For example, they differ in the number of extra eyelashes, sizes, and rigidity. It is important to note that the pet patient doesn't show any signs if the eyelashes are very soft. However, if the eyelashes are long and hard, they irritate the eyes and result in eye discharges and severe pain. Therefore, it is very important to treat the condition through a surgical procedure.

Breeds That Are Most Vulnerable To Distichia

Distichia occurs more often in young adults and puppies. However, this condition is diagnosed before the dog is 3-4 years old. And it is more prevalent in the following breeds:

  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Miniature poodle
  • Golden retriever
  • English bulldog
  • Flat-coated retriever
  • Shih Tzu
  • Cocker spaniel
  • Pekingese
  • Toy poodle
  • Shetland sheepdog
  • Pug
  • Lhasa apso
  • Miniature longhaired Dachshund

Cost Of Distichia Removal Surgery

The total cost of the procedure is approximately $900.00. And it includes the following:

  • Thorough physical examination
  • Running complete blood count test (CBC) for evaluation of dog's health
  • Induction of sedative and analgesic drugs
  • Maintenance of anesthesia on isoflurane
  • Use of I.V. Catheter and I.V. Fluids
  • EKG test for detection of any heart diseases in the dogs
  • Induction of anesthesia according to the patient's condition
  • Use of CO2 cutting laser for distichia removal surgery
  • Monitoring of anesthesia with the help of CO2 end-tidal, O2 saturation, EKG, body temperature, and blood pressure
  • Regular monitoring of post-surgical recovery and healing process
  • Hospitalization if necessary
  • Prescribing home medications
  • Follow up appointments

Why Is Distichia Removal Surgery Important?

If the abnormal eyelash growth is left untreated, then the pet patient suffers from the following conditions:

  • Continuous eye irritation and pain
  • Eye scratches due to persistent rubbing
  • Excessive scarring of the eyelid region
  • Regrowth of hair 
  • The appearance of the bluish cornea due to corneal ulcers
  • Dullness of eyes
  • Bacterial infections
  • Frequent blinking or squinting
  • Blindness
  • Loss of the eye

Distichia removal surgery eases the dogs' irritation and sufferings with the permanent removal of the abnormal eyelashes. It provides long-term relief to pet patients. And it is always recommended when the condition is severe, or there are high chances of the disease reappearing. So, instead of opting for the short-term solution, i.e., epilation (plucking out eyelashes), it is better to for distichia removal surgery.

However, regular follow-ups are very important to ensure no signs of infection around the eyelid region. Most importantly, as stated earlier, due to the hereditary nature of distichia, the veterinarians strongly condemn the breeding of the two affected dogs to prevent any further complications.