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Ectopic Cilia in Dogs… How much is this going to cost?

Ectopic Cilia is one of those medical conditions that can cause an owner to go through an “emotional rollercoaster.”  We say this because typically, when someone hears that their dog has been diagnosed with “ectopic cilia,” they will say…

“Ectopic… What?”

Which is the first SPIKE in the owner’s blood pressure. The good news is that this “spike” usually only lasts a minute before their veterinarian can explain precisely what an “ectopic cilia” is. This is usually where the average pet owner will begin to calm down because “hey,” it’s just an “eyelash thing,” and it’s not like your pet is dying!

The bad news is…

Their blood pressure is about to SPIKE again once they learn how much it can cost to “fix” this problem! This is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what an ectopic cilia is and try to shed some light on this condition so that if one of your pets ever encounters this issue, you’ll be better prepared to know what to expect.

So, without further ado, let’s diver right in.

Ectopic Cilia Defined

Ectopic Cilia (distichiasis) is shared among our furry friends. However, dealing with this for your dog, especially if your vet makes the original diagnosis, would mean that your dog has been suffering for quite some time. No one ever wants to hear that their dog has been experiencing pain without proper treatment, which could have alleviated it.

So, what is it?

Ectopic Cilia is a condition that causes hairs to grow out of the underside of your dog’s eyelids. It’s like extra eyelashes growing backward into the eye.

Gross, right?  

But it’s even worse because these eyelashes are growing backward into the eye, constantly “poking” the look! Now, this doesn’t just happen by accident. It occurs because of a disorder in the eyelid margin affecting the glands. These “ectopic eyelashes” are not “fun” because they can cause a lot of irritation in the eye and can even lead an “affected dog” to develop corneal ulcers (cornea ulceration) in some cases.

Corneal ulceration…

It is a medical condition when the eye’s outer layer gets inflamed. If this doesn’t already sound painful, let us state for the record that…

“This can cause a lot of pain for your dog!”  

So now that we’ve discussed what Ectopic Cilia is, and we’ve pretty much made it clear that if your dog is suffering from this, you want to try and know about it right away, let’s take a moment and discuss what some of the symptoms of this condition might look like.

Symptoms associated with Ectopic Cilia

Common symptoms that your dog may exhibit if they are suffering from ectopic cilia may include:

  • Excessive tearing of an eye or eyes,
  • Repetitive blinking,
  • Redness of the eyes,
  • “Pawing” of an eye,

Or just clearly “favoring” one eye over the other because they are experiencing pain in “that” eye. Also, imagine if you had something “suck” in your eye, didn’t have no fingers, and couldn’t tell anyone about it. What would you do? And what “behaviors” would you “exhibit”? The answer to these questions is the same as what “signs” your dog may exhibit when having an ectopic cilia.

Most Commonly Affected Breeds

While this disorder is expected in many dog breeds, some breeds, particularly the Shih Tzu, are at greater risk for developing ectopic cilia.

Other breeds that are commonly affected can include the following:

Treatment Options

The good news is that ectopic cilia can be treated and removed. The bad news is that the ectopic cilia will require a particular “compilation” surgery in almost all cases. And any time you use the words “special surgery” in a veterinarian’s office, you can bet it will be pricey. And in this case, it’s expensive because it’s not easy!

This is because…

Compilation is a surgical procedure that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze all those nasty “reversed” eyelashes. Then, once they’re frozen, the professional comes in and removes every hair. And here is where this can get pricey because if the surgery is done on a younger dog, there’s a decent chance the hair will grow back, and you’ll have to undergo the surgery again. And at $1000 to $3000 bucks a pop, this can get expensive… fast!

Which brings us to…

The last topic we wanted to mention in our article about “Ectopic Cilia” is the importance of purchasing a pet insurance policy. If your little buddy gets sick, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of their medical bills.

Check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article for more information about who we “feel” currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies.

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