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If you’re a dog owner, you know that their health is of utmost importance. One common health issue that can affect dogs is cherry eye.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about treating cherry eye in dogs.

Understanding Cherry Eye in Dogs

third eyelid cherry eye in dogs

Before we dive into the treatment options for cherry eye, let’s first understand what it is.

Cherry eye in dogs is a condition that affects the third eyelid, commonly known as the nictitating membrane, and is also referred to as prolapsed gland. This condition involves the eyelid gland that produces tears for the dog’s eyes.

While it can affect dogs of all ages, it is more frequently observed in young dogs, particularly those with a genetic predisposition, such as certain dog breeds including Basset Hounds and American Cocker Spaniels.

Cherry eye occurs when the gland within the third eyelid becomes swollen or protrudes, creating a red bump at the inner corner of the dog’s eye. This can lead to discomfort and may impact the tear production, potentially causing dry eye if left untreated.

Although not contagious, it is essential to address cherry eye promptly to prevent further complications.

Treating cherry eye often involves surgical techniques such as surgical repositioning or surgical replacement of the prolapsed gland. In some cases, minor surgery might be necessary. Topical treatments like eye drops and anti-inflammatory medication can also be used to support the recovery process.

Consulting a local vet is crucial for accurate diagnosis and proper guidance on the most suitable treatment options.

Cherry eye in dogs is a condition that can impact the well-being of our furry companions. Being attentive to the signs, seeking timely medical attention, and exploring suitable treatment methods can go a long way in ensuring the health and comfort of our beloved pets.

Diagnosis of Cherry Eye

third eyelid develop cherry eye

Diagnosing cherry eye in dogs involves careful examination of the third eyelid or nictitating membrane, where the prolapsed gland is located.

This condition, characterized by a red bump at the inner corner of the dog’s eye, can affect both young dogs and certain dog breeds with a genetic predisposition.

Veterinarians assess the eyelid gland and its tear production, as well as the health of the surrounding structures. Left untreated, it can lead to issues like dry eye and potential complications.

If identified in its early stages, non-surgical approaches such as eye drops or anti-inflammatory medication might be considered.

However, if the condition is more advanced, cherry eye surgery may be necessary. This surgical procedure involves repositioning or replacement of the prolapsed gland to its proper location.

Pet parents should seek guidance from a local vet to determine the best course of action for their dog’s well-being.

When to Visit the Vet

If you suspect that your dog has cherry eye, it’s recommended to see a vet as soon as possible. Only a professional can make an accurate diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment options.

It’s important not to delay the visit to the vet, as cherry eye can lead to complications if left untreated. The sooner you seek veterinary care, the better the chances of successful treatment and recovery.

While waiting for your appointment, it’s advisable to keep your dog comfortable and avoid any unnecessary contact with the affected eye. This can help prevent further irritation or potential damage.

How Vets Diagnose Cherry Eye

third eyelid eyelid gland produces

To diagnose cherry eye, your vet will conduct a comprehensive eye examination. They will carefully evaluate the affected eye and compare it to the healthy eye for comparison.

During the examination, your vet may use specialized tools, such as an ophthalmoscope, to examine the structures of the eye in more detail. This allows them to assess the position of the gland and determine the severity of the cherry eye.

In some cases, your vet may also recommend additional diagnostic tests to rule out any underlying conditions or complications. These tests may include ultrasound imaging or blood tests, which can provide valuable information about the overall health of your dog and help guide the treatment plan.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your vet will discuss the available treatment options with you. They will explain the risks and benefits of each approach and help you make an informed decision based on your dog’s specific needs.

How to Treat Cherry Eye

third eyelid gland early stage cherry eye

Now that we understand cherry eye in dogs, let’s explore the available treatment options. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and restore the gland to its normal position.

Non-Surgical Treatments

In mild cases of cherry eye, non-surgical treatments may be tried first. These can include massaging the gland back into place, applying medicated eye drops, or using warm compresses to reduce inflammation.

Massaging the gland back into place involves gently applying pressure to the affected area, helping to reposition the gland to its original position.

Medicated eye drops may contain anti-inflammatory or antibiotic properties, which can help reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Warm compresses can provide soothing relief, promoting blood circulation and reducing swelling.

It’s important to note that these non-surgical methods may not provide long-term relief and may only be effective in certain cases. While they can be a less invasive option, they may not address the underlying issue causing the cherry eye.

Therefore, it’s essential to monitor your dog’s condition closely and consult with your veterinarian for the most appropriate course of action.

Surgical Treatments

third eyelid gland cherry eye contagious

In more severe cases or cases where non-surgical treatments have failed, surgical intervention may be required. There are several surgical techniques your vet may recommend, including tacking the gland back into place or removing the gland altogether.

Tacking the gland back into place, also known as gland replacement, involves suturing the gland to the surrounding tissue to secure it in its proper position. This technique aims to prevent the gland from prolapsing again.

On the other hand, in cases where the gland is severely damaged or non-functional, your veterinarian may recommend removing the gland altogether.

This procedure, known as gland removal or gland excision, eliminates the risk of future cherry eye occurrences but may result in a decreased tear production in the affected eye.

Your vet will discuss the best surgical approach for your dog, taking into consideration the severity of the cherry eye, the health of your pet, and any potential risks or complications associated with each technique.

It’s essential to have a thorough discussion with your veterinarian to make an informed decision regarding the surgical treatment for your dog.

Post-Treatment Care and Recovery

After surgery, your dog will require proper post-treatment care and recovery to ensure a successful outcome. Your veterinarian will provide detailed instructions tailored to your dog’s specific needs, but here are some general guidelines to keep in mind.

Administering prescribed medications is crucial to manage pain, prevent infection, and promote healing. These medications may include pain relievers, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory drugs. It’s important to follow the prescribed dosage and schedule provided by your veterinarian.

Keeping the surgical area clean is essential to prevent infection. Your vet may recommend gently cleaning the area with a mild antiseptic solution or sterile saline solution. Avoid using any harsh chemicals or products that may irritate the surgical site.

Preventing your dog from scratching or rubbing their eyes is crucial to avoid any complications or damage to the surgical site. Your veterinarian may recommend using an Elizabethan collar or a protective cone to prevent your dog from accessing their eyes.

Additionally, it’s essential to monitor your dog closely for any signs of discomfort, excessive swelling, discharge, or changes in behavior. If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian immediately for further guidance.

Remember, each dog’s recovery process may vary, and it’s important to provide a calm and stress-free environment for your pet during this time. Regular follow-up appointments with your veterinarian will allow them to assess the progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Preventing Cherry Eye in Dogs

third eyelid gland dogs cherry eye

While cherry eye cannot always be prevented, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of your dog developing it.

Cherry eye, also known as prolapse of the third eyelid gland, is a condition that occurs when the tear gland in a dog’s eye becomes swollen and protrudes from its normal position.

This condition is more common in certain breeds, such as Bulldogs, Beagles, and Cocker Spaniels, but can affect any dog. It can be uncomfortable for the dog and may require surgical intervention to correct.

Regular Check-ups

Make sure to schedule regular check-ups with your vet. These visits allow your vet to monitor your dog’s overall eye health and detect any early signs of cherry eye or other eye-related issues.

During a routine eye examination, your vet will assess the condition of your dog’s tear glands, eyelids, and corneas. They may perform tests to measure tear production and evaluate the integrity of the eye structures.

By detecting any abnormalities or early signs of cherry eye, your vet can recommend appropriate preventive measures or treatment options.

Proper Care in Dog’s Eye

Keep your dog’s eyes clean and free from irritation by gently wiping them with a damp cloth regularly. Avoid using harsh chemicals or products that may cause eye irritation. Additionally, protect your dog’s eyes from foreign objects or excessive exposure to dust or wind.

Regular eye cleaning helps remove dirt, debris, and potential irritants that can accumulate around the eyes. Use a clean, soft cloth or a specially formulated dog eye wipe to gently wipe the area around your dog’s eyes.

Be cautious not to touch the eyeball directly to prevent any discomfort or injury.

When it comes to protecting your dog’s eyes, prevention is key. Avoid exposing your dog to environments with excessive dust, wind, or airborne particles that can irritate the eyes.

If you live in a windy area or take your dog for walks in dusty locations, consider using protective eyewear specifically designed for dogs.

Furthermore, be mindful of potential hazards that can lead to eye injuries. Keep your dog away from sharp objects, thorny bushes, or any situation where foreign objects can enter the eyes.

If your dog enjoys sticking its head out of the car window during rides, consider using a pet-safe window guard to prevent debris from entering the eyes.

Remember, proper eye care goes beyond just preventing cherry eye. Regular cleaning, protection, and avoiding potential hazards can help ensure your dog’s overall eye health and reduce the risk of various eye conditions.

Living with a Dog with Cherry Eye

cherry eye treated lower eyelid prevent cherry eye

Living with a dog that has cherry eye can require some adjustments and accommodations to ensure their comfort and well-being.

Adjustments and Accommodations

If your dog has had surgical treatment for cherry eye, you may need to make a few adjustments to their daily routine. For example, you may need to limit their physical activity or provide them with a special cone to prevent rubbing or scratching at their eyes during the healing process.

Long-Term Effects of Cherry Eye

While the surgical treatment for cherry eye is generally successful, there may be some long-term effects to consider. Some dogs may be more prone to future eye issues or have a higher risk of developing cherry eye in the unaffected eye. Regular check-ups with your vet can help monitor any potential complications.

In conclusion, cherry eye can be a concerning condition for dog owners, but with the right knowledge and timely treatment, it can be managed effectively. Whether it’s non-surgical or surgical treatment, working closely with your vet is crucial for the well-being of your furry friend.

By taking preventive measures, seeking early veterinary care, and providing necessary post-treatment care, you can ensure your dog’s eyes stay healthy and free from cherry eye.