Entropion in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles spaniels have a relatively high incidence of entropion, a painful and potentially blinding inherited disease, according to the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO).* It usually develops within a few months of birth. Entropion is an inward rolling of the eyelid edges. It most often affects the lower eyelid of one or both eyes. The hair on the affected lid continuously rubs against the cornea and can cause significant discomfort and trauma to the cornea. (See photo below.)

* See also, Ophthalmic Disease in Veterinary Medicine.

Studies have concluded that brachycephalic dogs may be predisposed to this condition.

All CKCSs should be examined at least annually by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist. They are listed on the website of the ACVO.



Entropion cannot be corrected by medical therapy, apart medication for resulting corneal ulcers. Surgical correction is always necessary. Based on the severity of the entropion and age of the cavalier, different surgical techniques may be used.


Breeders' Responsibilities

The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) advises that entropion is a painful and potentially blinding disease and therefore affected dogs in several breeds which have a higher incidence of entropion than do cavaliers are denied certification. Currently, CERF does not deny certification to cavalier King Charles spaniels which are affected with entropion, because the Genetics Committee of the ACVO classifies the disorder as a "breeder option" for CKCSs.

EntropionThe Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA recommends that, prior to breeding any cavalier, the dog have a normal rating or be within CERF "breeder options" from a screening by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

However, cavaliers affected with entropion should not be bred to each other. Any littermates of breeding stock having entropion should be taken into consideration. All cavalier breeding stock should be examined by board certified veterinary ophthalmologists to determine if the dogs are affected with entropion.

The Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) is a centralized canine health database sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and OFA. The CHIC, working with participating parent clubs, provides a resource for breeders and owners of purebred dogs to research and maintain information on the health issues prevalent in specific breeds.

AKC's national breed clubs establish the breed specific testing protocols. Dogs complying with the breed specific testing requirements are issued CHIC numbers. The ACKCSC requires that, to qualify for CHIC certification, cavaliers must have a CERF eye examination, recommending that an initial CERF exam be performed at 8 to 12 weeks, with a follow up exam once the dog reaches 12 months, and annual exams thereafter until age 5 years, and every other year until age 9 years. However, all that is required to qualify for a CHIC certificate is that the breeding stock be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist. It does not require that the results of the examination show no eye disorders.


Ocu-GLO RxWhat You Can Do:

 Ocu-GLO Rx is a nutraceutical containing several natural antioxidants in a combination blend formulated specifically for canine eye health. Many veterinary ophthalmologists recommend this product to maintain healthy eyes. Even if your dog has not been diagnosed with a vision disorder, antioxidants contained in Ocu-GLO Rx are considered helpful in keeping dogs' eyes healthy.


Related Links


Veterinary Resources

Ocular Disorders Presumed to be Inherited in Purebred Dogs. A.C.V.O. 1999.

Control of Canine Genetic Diseases. Padgett, G.A., Howell Book House 1998, pp. 198-199, 240.

Guide to Congenital and Heritable Disorders in Dogs. Dodds WJ, Hall S, Inks K, A.V.A.R., Jan 2004, Section II(103).

Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs & Cats. Alex Gough, Alison Thomas. 2004; Blackwell Publ. 44-45.

Ophthalmic Disease in Veterinary Medicine. Martin C.L. Manson Publ. 2005.

Ophthalmic Disease in Veterinary Medicine. Charles L. Martin. Manson Publ. 2009; page 475, table 15.1. Quote: "Presumed Inherited Ocular Diseases: Table 15.1: Breed predisposition to eye disease in dogs: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: ... Entropion".

Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs & Cats (2d Ed.). Alex Gough, Alison Thomas. 2010; Blackwell Publ. 53.

Ocular Disorders Presumed to be inherited in purebred dogs. Genetics Committee of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. Blue Book 6th Ed. 2013. pp. 241-247. Quote: "Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Disorder: C. Entropion. Inheritance: Not defined."