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

Ectopic Cilia, is one of those medical conditions which can an owner to go through an “emotional rollercoaster”.

Now we say this because…

Typically, when someone hears that their dog has been diagnosed with “ectopic cilia” they’re typically going to say…

“Ectopic… What?”

Which is the first SPIKE in the owner’s blood pressure.

Now the good news…

Is that this “spike” will usually only last a minute or so before his or her veterinarian is able to explain exactly what an “ectopic cilia” is.  This is usually where the average pet owner will begin to calm down a bit 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 fairly common to see among our furry friends.  That said however, it’s still a pain to deal with for both you and your pet.

Especially if…

It is your vet who makes the original diagnosis because this could mean that you dog has been suffering from this condition for quite some time, and no one ever wants to hear that their dog has been experiencing any type of pain without receiving the 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 backwards into the eye.

Gross, right?   

But it’s even worse than that because these eyelashes are growing backwards into the eye, constantly “poking” the eye!  Now this doesn’t just happen by accident.  It actually occurs because of a disorder in the eyelid margin affecting the glands.

And these “ectopic eyelashes”…

Are no “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…

Is a medical condition that occurs when the outer layer of the eye gets inflamed.  Now, 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 he or she is suffering from an 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 he or she is experience pain in “that” eye.  Also, just imagine if you had something “suck” in your eye and you didn’t have any fingers and you couldn’t tell anyone about it.  What would you do?  And what “behaviors” would your “exhibit”?

The answer to these questions…

Is the same answer to the question about what “signs” your dog may exhibit when they have an ectopic cilia.

Dog breeds most commonly affected by ectopic cilia

While this disorder is common in a lot of dog breeds, there are some breeds particularly the Shih Tzu who are definitely at greater risk for developing an ectopic cilia.

Other breeds that are commonly affected can include the:

Treatment of ectopic cilia

Now the good news is that ectopic cilia can be treated and removed.  The bad news is that in almost all cases, the ectopic cilia will require a special surgery called “cryoepilation”.

And any time…

You use the two words “special surgery” in a veterinarian office, you can bet it’s going to be pricey.  And in this case, it’s pricey because it’s not easy!

You see…

Cryoepilation, is a surgical procedure that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze all of those nasty “reversed” eyelashes.  Then, once they’re frozen the professional comes in and removes each and every hair.

And here is where…

This can get really 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 go through the surgery again.  And at $1000 to $3000 bucks a pop this can get really expensive… really fast!

Now this is where…

We typically like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPets are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals. All we are is a bunch of folks who really care about animals.


If you think your pet is suffering from an ectopic cilia, you’re going to want to take him or her to a vet ASAP!  Because while it is true that most of the time it will require surgery to repair, there are cases where the ectopic cilia can be removed without performing surgery which will not only be easier on your dog, it will also be much easier on your wallet!

Which brings us to…

The last topic that we wanted to mention in our article about “Ectopic Cilia” which is the importance of purchasing a pet insurance policy on your pet.

This way…

If your little buddy does get sick, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of his or her medical bills.

For more information about who we “feel” currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there be sure to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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