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Lagophthalmos In Dogs

Lagophthalmos In Dogs

Lagophthalmos is an incomplete or abnormal closure of the eyelids or a type of physiological constitution resulting in trauma causing the cornea to dry out.

This may result from orbits that are extremely shallow to hold the eye, a common condition in breeds with flatter faces (brachycephalic breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs).

The Greek word “Lagos” means “hare,” an animal believed to sleep with its eyes open can be found in the literature.

Lagopthalmia may also be caused by paralysis in the facial nerves (Paralytic Lagophthalmos) and for this, there are so many underlying aetiologies such as metabolic, Trauma, Tumour, and Idiopathic.

Dogs that are unable completely close their eyes are at risk of evaporation of the tear film, corneal exposure, and corneal ulceration and this can progress to keratopathy and perforation.

Symptoms Of Lagophthalmos

  • Unable to fully close their eyelids
  • Pain In Eye
  • Dry Eyes
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Eye Inflammation

Treatment Options For Lagophthalmos

The objective of lagophthalmos treatment is two-fold: to improve eyelid function and prevent further corneal exposure.

Treatment can be divided into two modalities- medical and surgical.

Medical treatment consists of improving the stability, quantity, and quality of the tear film.

Surgical procedures can be static or dynamic. The purpose is to reestablish eyelid coverage or eyelid function.

The reconstruction method and choice of treatment will depend on the etiology as well as the severity of lagophthalmos, age, and overall health of the dog.

Sometimes, immunosuppressive therapy (medications that suppress the immune system) with corticosteroids may be necessary.

Home Remedies For Lagophthalmos

  1. Increase your dog’s immunity - Feed your Dog the right foods as the gut contains about 70 percent of the dog’s immune system
  2. Weight management for your dog is important
  3. Supplementing for healthy eyes - help your dog have healthy ocular hygiene with supplements
  4. Make your dog more comfortable: Cleanse eyelids—to remove crusts (dried discharge) with lukewarm water with a half-teaspoon of salt
  5. Use physiological saline or a commercial eye cleansing agent: (such as Eye Scrub) or lactated Ringer’s solution
  • Apply warm compresses for 5 to 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times daily, avoiding surfaces of the eyes
  • Apply cooled chamomile tea to a cotton ball and clean the affected eye

Prevention Of Lagophthalmos

Lagopthalmia due to the hereditary abnormality can be prevented by stopping the breeding of affected dogs so that the risk of passing the condition on to the next generation is averted.

Allergy-related: try to remove or avoid the allergens to prevent future outbreaks.

Food-related: consult with the vet for any specialized hypoallergenic diets

Affected Breeds Of Lagophthalmos

Brachycephalic Dog Breeds, Shih Tzu, Pug, English Bulldog, Shar Pei, Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, Lhasa Apso

Additional Facts For Lagophthalmos


Paralytic Lagophthalmos


  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Mastoiditis
  • Fungal (Mucormycosis)
  • Immunocompromised dogs


  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension


  • Birth trauma
  • temporal bone fracture, Fractures to the skull base
  • Facial injuries


  • Leukemia
  • Carcinoma (primary or metastatic)
  • Facial nerve tumor
  • Cholesteatoma
  • Meningioma
  • Haemangioblastoma
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Sarcoma


  • Arsenic
  • Thalidomide
  • Alcohol excess
  • Carbon monoxide


There is no mortality due to this condition documented yet


Lagophthalmos isn't a lethal condition, but it can ultimately lead to eye problems. Discuss with your vet to figure out the underlying cause.

Depending on the cause, lagophthalmos can be treated with either medication to keep the eyes moisturized or surgery.

When To See A Vet

Contact your vet right away, if you notice any of the following:

  • Corneal ulceration or perforation

Food Suggestions For Lagophthalmos

Hypoallergenic diets

These diets try to eliminate the risk of allergies and intolerances.

Wheat, Corn, Soy, Dairy, and beef are responsible for 75% of food allergies in dogs. Avoid these items.

Unique protein sources are used that aren’t recognized as antigens by your dog’s antibodies. Novel protein sources used in this diet include venison, rabbit, lamb, duck, etc are not usually found in pet food.

Carbohydrate sources include sweet potatoes, potatoes, canned pumpkin, peas, yams, etc

Hydrolyzed protein diets- protein source has been chemically reduced to small fragments.

Sample rice and chicken bland dog food

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 2 cup skinless, boneless cubed chicken
  • 3 tbsp canned pumpkin

Boil the chicken pieces in a pot with water. Add rice to the water after some time. When this is fully cooked, simmer the ingredients. Add the pumpkin after the ingredients in the pot are completely cooled.

Store it for up to 5 days in a fridge and feed your pet as needed.


The cause of the Lagopthalmia determines the prognosis

Proper treatment of Infectious causes of Lagopthalmia do extremely well and are not at risk of developing problems in the future.

Congenital abnormality (brachycephalic breeds) caused Lagopthalmia can be surgically corrected, the prognosis is excellent.

Benign eyelid tumors in dogs can be removed surgically with a good prognosis.

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