Image Quiz: The case of the crying rat
Distichiasis is correct!
This pet rat has several distichia lining the right lower eyelid margin (arrows) and rubbing against the cornea. Distichia are abnormal eyelashes that, just like normal eyelashes, grow out of the meibomian gland ducts. However, they are smaller and often grow backward, rubbing against the cornea. In dogs, distichia are not always pathologic, but, as in this case, they can cause a lot of discomfort. No ulcer was present in this case yet, thanks to the prompt referral.
The treatment for distichia is the same across species and can vary according to the location and number of abnormal eyelashes—the most common being cryoepilation. The white spot in the center of the cornea is a flash artifact.
This case highlights the importance of a systematic ocular examination regardless of the species in question.