The bull terrier breed was developed during the early 1800s when bulldogs were crossbred with terriers. The breed was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1885. These dogs have several inherited eye conditions.
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The Canine Inherited Disorders Database explains that bull terriers are susceptible to entropion, a disorder where the lower eyelid rolls inward and rubs against the cornea. They are also prone to ectropion, a defective condition that causes the eyelids to sag or roll away from the surface of the eye, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), or dry eye. More rarely, bull terriers inherit a progressive deterioration of the retina called progressive retinal atrophy.
Entropion causes eye irritation because the eyelashes and hairs rub against the cornea. If left untreated, this condition leads to corneal ulceration, scarring and vision loss. Ectropion exposes the eye and leaves the dog susceptible to bacterial infections. KCS causes conjunctivitis, corneal irritation, corneal ulcers, scarring and blindness. Progressive retinal atrophy eventually leads to total blindness.
Entropion is corrected surgically. Ectropion is often a breed characteristic and in most instances no treatment is necessary. Treat KCS with tear stimulants. No treatment is available for progressive retinal atrophy as of 2010.
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