26 January 1996

Entropion increase

ENTROPION is afflicting more lambs, both commercial and pedigree, than ever before.

The condition is a malformation of the eyelid and lashes, which turn on to the eyeball causing pain, inflammation and, eventually, ulceration. Although sometimes the result of an accident, there is a suggestion that the condition is hereditary

A wet area around the eye can indicate a problem, says Dr Agnes Winter from Liverpool University. Another symptom is reddening and cloudiness of the eye similar to that in stock suffering cataracts.

Pulling down the bottom eyelid and withdrawing in-turned lashes can effect a cure if spotted soon after birth. Failure to deal with the condition will lead to serious problems and sickly lambs. It is essential to seek veterinary advice.

But the situation can be more serious if the bottom eyelid is rubbing against the eyeball. It is common practice for vets to inject 1ml of liquid paraffin or penicillin into the conjunctiva to "lift out" the malformation by creating a layer of scar tissue. Under no circumstances should this be done by anyone but a vet, as it is easy to inject the needle into the eyeball without a sound knowledge of anatomy. &#42

Symptoms of entropion are wetness around the eye and reddening of the eye. It is caused by malformation of the eyelid and lashes turning on to the eyeball.