1) Dermoid Cysts
This is a tumour, not a malignant one though. I don’t see much of this in Guyana, but very long ago, when I was practising in Europe, several dogs presented with this condition whereby hair was growing from the surface of the eyeball.
Actually, this spherical mass is really surrounded by an envelope of skin which has follicles from which hairs grow. Because of this envelope, one speaks of a cystic structure (a cyst, a cavity).
But there is a difference between hair growing on the skin (surface of the body) and hair growing out of a cyst. In the latter instance, there is a closed cavity (cyst). This means that the hair cannot be shed, and any other debris which has accumulated cannot be gotten rid of. The cyst then increases in size.
The Dermoid Cyst has to be removed. The hairs tend to be a continuous irritant, so we can’t just leave the problem alone hoping that self-healing will take place, or that the introduction of antibiotics and anti-inflamatory drugs will help. Your vet will perform the necessary surgery.
2) Other hair
(i) Extra eyelashes
Nature has a way of misbehaving every now and then. Small and not so minor genetic aberrances are reflected in many ways; you know – six fingers, cleft palates, harelips, etc. Well, there is a congenital condition in dogs, whereby there is an extra row of eyelashes growing out of the eyelid. Pompeks, Poodles and Cocker Spaniels seem to be the breeds most affected.
It really looks funny – as if the dog is using lash-thickening mascara. When it does occur, it is a problem – simply because the extra eyelashes rub against the eyeball surface (cornea) continuously, with every blink. Your veterinarian can remove the extra row of hairs. Hopefully, he/she will use an electric needle to burn out the hairs so that they don’t regrow.
(ii) Facial hair
Again, this condition is breed-related. Wire-haired dogs, Schnauzers, the Old English Sheepdog (and so many others that arrive in the clinic with hair so long that one doesn’t immediately know where the head of the dog is and where the behind is located) have this problem. What actually happens is that the unshorn facial hair falls into the eyes. This rubbing of the hair on the eyeball creates a continuous irritation, and secondarily an infection.
Finally, breeds like the Pekinese (and any long-haired, short-muzzled breed) have hair growing up from their nasal folds and rubbing on to the eyeball.
The treatment in this case is quite simple. Trim the offending hair. Some veterinarians even advocate plucking out the hairs. Well, I don’t mind plucking from inside the ear, but from the face? No thanks; the owner can do that.
3) Further ‘abnormalities’
(i) Different colour eyes
This is a condition whereby the animal (usually cats) have irises of a differing colour. The animal’s sight seems to be neither impaired, nor is any discomfort discernible. It is quite a conversation piece though. Every person, seeing the condition for the first time, is not only surprised but offers all sorts of advice and reasons for the varying colours. It is a straight case of a genetic aberration.
(ii) Diverging /converging eyes
As in humans, animals whose eyes are frontally located could exhibit a condition in which the eyeballs are converging towards or away from the nose (cockeye). Again, the animals show no discomfort and they can chase and catch rats with great dexterity. This leads me to believe that the brain is compensating for /adjusting to this anatomical defect.
This is a structural defect in the eye or lens, which prevents the rays of light from being brought to a common focus. But, as I have constantly maintained, one needs not worry since dogs do not rely too much on their eyesight to get along well in life. In cats, when it does occur (seldomly), it would be a great deficiency. The owner will have to discuss the options with his/her vet.
Enough for today. See you next week.
Happy Father’s Day.
A thought: Fathers should give mothers gifts because they were the ones who allowed us the privilege of becoming fathers.
Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-Heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals. Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.