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Turned in Eyelids

23 March 2018

Image from Nadis

Entropion of lambs occurs with the turning in of one or both lower eyelids.  It is a congenital disorder, meaning it is often present at birth.  With the eyelid turned in, the eyelashes or hairs can rub against the cornea and cause secondary infections such as ulceration, blindness, etc.  For this reason it should be dealt with quickly.  If the condition is identified early, it can be treated simply by one of the following methods,

  1. Check all newborns for signs of entropion, initially usually seen as weeping eyes.
  2. Roll down the skin below the lower eyelid, opening the eye and everting the eyelid. This is more practical for indoor lambed sheep, where lambs can be caught and the skin rolled down a number of times.  A topical antibiotic can be applied to the eye to help control secondary infection.  In simple cases this should sort the issue.
  3. Using metal clips, called Mitchel suture clips, (can be purchased from vets) place 2-5mm below the eyelid, to clip the eyelid back into place. These can be applied quickly to the lamb with only one person.  These clips naturally fall of when the inversion is corrected.  This offers a practical approach for indoor and outdoor flocks.
  4. Using a clean, sharp, little needle inject 0.5ml of antibiotic 1cm parallel to the lower eyelid. The antibiotic acts as a filler preventing the eyelid from inverting.  This method allows for correction of the eye whilst also controlling secondary infection.  Although this procedure does require two people.  Again this offers a solution for outdoor flocks, when catching the lambs for repeat treatment daily is not possible.
  5. Surgical correction is available for entropion, but this can be expensive.

Entropion is a hereditary problem.  If your flock has a problem with in turned eyelids, look back to your tupping records and see if you can identify a specific tup that may be breeding the problem into the flock.

Kirsten Williams, kirsten.williams@sac.co.uk

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