Health & Wellness

Early Stage Cherry Eye in Dogs

Dog with cherry eye in both eyes

Did you know that dogs have a third eye lid?

A dog’s nictitating membrane or third eyelid is where a dog’s tear production occurs. The eye usually lubricates through the function of this gland. Without it functioning properly this causes dry eye and other issues.

The main symptom of cherry eye in dogs is swelling and redness in the corner of the eye which is easy to spot. Dogs with Cherry eye or developing cherry eye run the risk of serious discomfort and infection. Once observed your should schedule an appointment with your veterinary ophthalmologist or veterinarian as soon as possible. That way your vet may review and confirm that your dog has cherry eye and not some other ailment.

When a dog has cherry they dog may also show signs of squinting and pus like discharge.

Although certain breeds may be more prone to Cherry eye, know that any dog can suffer from this be it Boston terriers to Cocker Spaniels.

What Causes Cherry Eye in dogs?

Dog with prolapsed third eyelid

Cherry eye in one or both eyes can occur. It results when the small ligament that holds the third eyelid gland back either prolapses or breaks.

This usually occurs in young dogs and the discomfort in the eye may cause them to rub the lower eyelid. Cherry eye in dogs may lead to a risk of developing damage to the tear gland and chronic dry eye in dogs if left untreated. In severe cases they may even have to remove the gland completely.

Veterinarians still don’t know what causes cherry eye in dogs. But thanks to modern technology, treatment for cherry eye is possible.

How to treat cherry eye in dogs?

Third eyelid treatment for cherry eye

Treatment for cherry eye in dogs is multifaceted. Cherry eye surgery is needed to correct the nictitating membrane in the dog’s eye.

Cherry eye in dogs very rarely goes away on its own and often requires surgery in the eye. This is essential as their eye health depends on it.

Your vet may recommend drops for some time before the surgery to address any issues of infection that may have been caused by cherry eye.

During the surgery the tear gland is reconnected. This allows the gland to begin healing and function as normal again.

If left untreated cherry eye may result in the full third eyelid gland having to be removed. Your dog’s tear production will cease and they may develop dry eyes. This will require that you manually lubricate the dog’s eye in order for them to be comfortable.

Surgery Aftercare for Cherry Eye in Dogs

Immediate before and after treatment for dog with cherry eye

Once your dog has been discharged from eye surgery. Your veterinarian will provide you with medication to keep the dog’s eyes from becoming dry eyes.

It will be important for you to monitor the corner of your dog’s eye to ensure the prolapsed gland is back in place and healing. Your dog’s vet may prescribe treatment of eye drops to prevent any possible infections or complications. You will also be sent with anti-inflammatory medication to control the swelling.

Cone to keep your dog's eye safe after treatment

Pet owners should contact their vet in case post treatment is not going well. Dogs may have the tendency to scratch or rub so your vet will send your dog home with a cone. But it is your job to ensure your dog doesn’t further rub their eye.

How to Prevent cherry eye in dogs

Preventative measures

Unfortunately, there are no know preventative measures for cherry eye in dogs.

This is why it is so important for you to observe their lower eyelid often. If you start to see any dryness or redness in your dog’s eye you might want to look into lubricant eye drops or Vitamin A drops or cream to add to your dog’s daily care regiment.

Be sure to address the symptoms of cherry eye in your dog as soon as possible as the early stage of cherry eye in dogs is more easily treated.

How much does surgery typically cost for cherry eye in dogs?

Expenses if treatment for cherry eye

Surgery for a dog with cherry eye can run anywhere from $300-$800 for one or both eyes.

Repairing this third eyelid gland is a delicate process. Its important to ensure the gland is properly re-attached. Don’t risk your dogs health. If you believe they have signs of cherry eye contact your dog’s vet immediately. Surgery for your dog’s cherry eye will be cheaper the sooner you catch the symptoms.

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