Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

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eyes Distichiasis


What is distichiasis?

Distichiasis is presence of an abnormally positioned eyelash.  These can arise any time in a dog’s life.  They may come and go.  If the lash grows toward the cornea it may cause abrasion to the corneal surface.  This can be quite painful and may result in permanent scaring if not treated. Minor distichia will pass the eye exam though the examiner will note them.

How common is distichiasis in Aussies?

About 1.5% of the Aussies have distichiasis.

Is distichiasis inherited?

Yes, though the details are not known.  Distichia should be considered faulty, with the degree of fault increasing with the number of lashes or repeat incidents (i.e. new ones keep cropping up.)  Minor distichia are not, by themselves, a reason not to breed if the dog is otherwise good to excellent.  Just be sure to avoid mates that have or have had distichiasis or who have a family history for it.  If a dog had distichia which required surgery or caused corneal damage it should not be bred.  Breed its near relatives carefully, as outlined for a dog with minor distichia.