Why Do Dogs Get Cherry Eye?

What Causes a Dog to Have Cherry Eye?

In dogs, the cherry eye develops when the inflamed gland in the third eyelid prolapses and bulges out. The Cherry eye is so named because the red lump caused by the prolapsed gland appears like a cherry in the canine corner of the eye. All sorts of breeds are susceptible to developing cherry eye, and it may affect one or both eyes. Cherry eye in dogs is a topic covered in depth here, from potential triggers to medical management.

The third canine eyelid is known as the nictitating membrane.

To keep tears from drying out the eye, the upper and lower lids close and blink. The third eyelid is situated inside the lower lid and at the corner of the eye, both within and under the eye. The nictitating membrane provides extra defense for the dog’s eye, particularly against debris and scratches. A tear gland inside the eye membrane might become inflamed, much as in your dog.

Can you explain canine cherry eye?

Dogs may have cherry eye if the tear gland in their eye’s bottom corner gets irritated and prolapses, causing redness and irritation.

Puppies, young dogs, and certain breeds often experience cherry eye. But any dog is at risk. The gland might expand and protrude almost immediately after the onset of cherry eye. Cherry eye may not cause any discomfort in all dogs, but it may be quite annoying.

When does a dog’s eye become a “cherry,” and what causes this condition?

There isn’t always a clear reason for cherry eye. Some dog breeds are more predisposed to the disease than others, leading many vets to conclude that this is a hereditary issue. American cocker spaniels, Shih Tzus, beagles, Lhasa apsos, Pekingese, Maltese, basset hounds, rottweilers, Neapolitan mastiffs, Shar-Peis, Boston terriers, saint bernards, and English bulldogs are the most susceptible breeds to developing cherry eye.

Other possible causes of cherry eye include:

  • Age: Cherry eye typically occurs in young dogs, typically below the age of 2.
  • Eye trauma: Eye trauma, such as being poked in the eye, can cause the ligaments surrounding your dog’s third eyelid to become weak.
  • Scratching of the eye: You can tell if something is bothering your pet from their body language. For example, if your dog is rubbing their eye on the ground or furniture or pawing at their face, they could have minor irritation or an eye infection. However, scratching the eye can cause trauma, which can weaken the ligaments around the third eyelid.

Cherry eyes are not the same thing as an eye infection. Usually, an irritant or foreign body is required to cause an infection. However, dog cherry eye may occur for no apparent reason. Cherry eye, however, may cause infections. Your dog’s third eyelid becomes more sensitive and open to infection-causing particles like dust when it prolapses. Cherry eye may also be caused by an eye infection since the inflammation and protrusion of the gland in the third eyelid is triggered by the irritation caused by the infection.

Cherry eye is a distinct condition from allergies to dogs. Although allergies may lead to uncomfortable dryness in the eyes, they are not the root cause of this inflammation.

As a rule, the red, swollen lump you notice in your dog’s eye is the result of a rupture in the ligaments that support the third eyelid. Weak ligaments are possible in any dog, and puppies born with weak ligaments are more prone to have a cherry eye.

When Does a Dog Show Cherry Eye?

Dogs with cherry eyes often have a prolapsed tear gland that becomes red and looks like a cherry. There will be no visible bleeding from the prolapsed tear gland. Dogs with cherry eyes may also exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Inability to close the eye: The prolapsed gland may make it difficult for your dog to close their eyes, which can lead to dryness and itchiness.
  • Pawing or scratching at the eye: You can tell if your dog has a cherry eye because it will feel something in its eye. They may not be in severe pain, but the minor discomfort they experience may prompt them to paw or scrape at the eye. The greatest way to prevent infection is to stop itching as much as possible.
  • Dry eye: If the gland in the third eyelid stops working correctly, it may lead to dry eye by reducing the number of tears produced. In addition, dryness from cherry eyes might be the cause of your dog’s foggy eyes. Your veterinarian may recommend medicated eye drops to keep your dog comfortable and relieve itching.
  • Irritation: Caused by the eye’s inability to naturally produce tears, dry eye may be quite irritating. When a dog tries to scratch an itch by rubbing at it, the irritated area might become inflamed and develop ulcers. Your dog’s cherry eye may be unpleasant, but it shouldn’t injure them unless they attempt to touch or scratch at it. In order to avoid permanent injury to the gland, pet owners should discourage their dogs from scratching their eyes.
  • Body language: While you’ll notice cherry eye immediately, you may also notice your dog’s body language and behavior change. Dogs with cherry eye might whimper or start sleeping more to keep their eye closed to avoid irritation and uncomfortable dry eye.

Can You Tell Me About the Treatment for Cherry Eye in Dogs?

It is important to diagnose cherry eye in dogs before researching possible treatments. Even if it’s easy to tell that a dog has cherry eye just by looking at it, you should still take it in to the vet to learn more about the disease and receive their advice on how to cure it.

Anti-inflammatory treatment is the standard early treatment for cherry eye in dogs. However, in most circumstances, surgical intervention to relocate the gland is necessary for your dog. You and your veterinarian may discuss the many surgical options available to you and your dog.

Keep in mind that the tear gland and the dog’s third eyelid work together to keep your dog’s eyes healthy and moist. Your surgical veterinarian will aim to save as much of the gland as possible. The gland may be reattached to the supporting tissue by surgical stitching. As a general rule, your veterinarian will not remove any glands to preserve the dog’s ability to actively generate tears. Further, retaining the gland helps forestall future cases of canine blindness.

Only if the tear gland has prolapsed may surgery benefit your dog. Most veterinarians will wait until the tear gland has completely prolapsed before doing surgery on your dog. Your veterinarian will also recommend anti-itch treatments and painkillers to help manage your dog’s discomfort and keep infection at bay.

If your dog has developed cherry eye, don’t delay in making an appointment with the doctor. While not an immediate threat, it’s advisable to have your vet take a look at it as soon as possible so they can devise a strategy for how to treat it. If your vet sees any signs of eyelid injury, he or she may recommend emergency surgery.

Cherry eye in dogs cannot be cured, although it may be managed with anti-inflammatory medication. Surgery, in addition to medicine, will be necessary for most. If your dog has cherry eye, it may be surgically corrected so that they have reduced vision loss.

Cherry Eye in Dogs: Preventing It

If your dog contracts cherry eye, it is not your fault as a pet parent since there is nothing you can do to avoid it. Because its presumed hereditary origin cannot be disproved, cherry eye cannot be avoided. However, if you plan on getting a new puppy, either via adoption or a breeder, you may conduct some research on the parents. Given that certain breeds are more predisposed to developing cherry eye than others, it’s important to be aware of the risk even if you don’t know the pet’s background before adopting.

Because vets don’t know what triggers the prolapse, it’s tough to avoid the condition. It’s also worth noting that cherry eye is not always inherited and may affect any dog. Cherry eye, fortunately, is not a fatal disease and may be treated with medicines and surgical procedures.

The Most Common Questions About Cherry Eye in Dogs

So, what happens if you don’t treat your cherry eye?

If the cherry eye is not treated, the gland may expand even more, reducing tear production while increasing irritation and inflammation, which may lead to dry eye. Your dog’s eye can become permanently open and unable to shut. Cherry eye in dogs causes a mucoid discharge if not treated, which may progress to pink eye if left unchecked.

What is the cost of treating cherry eye?

Cherry eye treatment costs may range from free to several hundred dollars, depending on the severity of your pet’s disease. Surgery costs aren’t always covered by pet insurance, but some policies do. If the expense is not covered by your pet insurance, you will be responsible for the whole thing.

If my dog develops cherry eye, when should I take him to the vet?

In the case of cherry eye, prompt veterinary attention is essential, and you and your veterinarian may choose to consider surgical alternatives. Cherry eye is not life-threatening, but it may lead to complications like pink eye if left untreated. If you take your dog to the doctor, they may recommend anti-inflammatory eye medications to help lessen the size of the cherry. If your dog has trouble closing its eyes, eye drops might help keep them moist. However, eye drops are not a permanent solution, and surgery will likely be required.

Although it is typically the preference of pet owners to avoid surgical procedures, this is not the case here. Your dog’s eye condition cannot be resolved with topical medicines alone; surgery is required. Without surgery, your dog’s eye will never recover since the gland is now in the wrong place.

Can a dog’s cherry eye heal on its own?

Cherry eye, in which the gland has prolapsed, does not resolve spontaneously. Consequently, surgical intervention will be necessary for the majority of canine patients. If you don’t treat your dog’s cherry eye, it might lead to other complications including increased inflammation and irritation. Because the eye has no defenses against dust and other irritants, you should also anticipate eye infections.

Can you die from cherry eye?

Cherry eye in dogs is not a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Nonetheless, get your pet into the doctor ASAP so you may talk about treatment choices and set up an operation date. The majority of dogs diagnosed with cherry eye go on to have happy, healthy lives.

Are cases of cherry eye contagious?

One dog with cherry eye will not spread the disease to other dogs or people. There is no way for your dogs to catch cherry eye from another animal since, as we’ve shown, it’s either a hereditary disease or the consequence of trauma.

In what ways does one recover after cherry eye surgery?

While surgery might be upsetting for you as a pet parent, recuperation is pretty straightforward for both you and your dog. In only a few short weeks, most canine patients make a full recovery. Your main concern will be scheduling follow-up visits with the veterinarian to check on the surgery site and make sure everything is healing OK. Your pet will need to wear a cone during this period to avoid scratching and infection.

Between two and four weeks after surgery, dogs usually have checkups. During the healing process, your vet will examine for dry eye and track tear production.

Always adhere to your veterinarian’s aftercare instructions to protect the health and comfort of your pet. You should expect to get some written materials with further instructions for caring for your pet throughout their recuperation.

Do you think the cherry eye will return?

Recurrence of cherry eye in the same eye despite surgical treatment is possible. Cherry eye can be corrected surgically, but without it, the condition will only worsen. The cherry may shrink in size on its own, but it will never completely disappear, and waiting to visit a vet is risky. Your dog’s cherry eye can only be removed surgically, but the outcome of the procedure will rely on the skill of the veterinarian and the care they take during the procedure.

Furthermore, if your dog has cherry eye in one eye and you cure it, it is possible that the condition may spread to the other eye. Cherry eye affects both eyes of most canines, albeit the symptoms may not always manifest at the same time. The second eye, if it develops cherry eye, will likely do so within a few months after the first.

In what ways can cherry eye be identified?

Cherry eye is relatively easy to diagnose for veterinarians since it is so obviously visible. Additionally, your doctor will be able to tell whether your dog has a cherry eye only by looking in its eye since no other eye ailment has the same symptoms. But your physician may also perform tests to evaluate the state of your dog’s eye. Unless the infection has spread to the eye, most dogs shouldn’t be in discomfort or becoming blind from an eye issue that can be addressed.

In conclusion

If you discover your dog has cherry eye, you may feel stressed. All you want is what’s best for your partner, after all. Cherry eye is not uncommon, yet many pet owners have never dealt with it. Veterinarians think it’s primarily hereditary, but any dog may have it, so owners should be ready.

If you discover your dog has cherry eye, prompt veterinary attention is essential. Cherry eye is not a serious condition, and your dog probably won’t get sick. However, it might lead to pink eye or a severe infection if it’s left untreated, and it can cause irritation and discomfort.

Cherry eye is treatable in most dogs by surgery, albeit early detection may make treatment impossible. In order to reconnect the gland to the ligament, your veterinarian will want to wait until the gland is entirely prolapsed. Operation has been shown to be helpful for most dogs suffering with cherry eye, and although no surgery is ever guaranteed to be successful, it is often your only choice.

It doesn’t take long to get your sight back after having cherry eyes removed. Your veterinarian may prescribe eye drops to give your dog so that his eye may remain moist while it recovers. Once the tumor is gone, your pet should feel better than ever within a few weeks. Even if surgical treatments make you concerned, they are necessary so that your dog may have a longer, healthier life. The procedure to remove the eye of your dog is deemed risk-free as long as the surgeon is competent. If you put your faith in them, they can help you calm down, too.

While cherry eye may not initially cause much discomfort, it may progress to more severe conditions including infection and dry eye disease. Taking your pet to the doctor as soon as possible will assist, even if all they can give you are eye drops to ease the animal’s suffering. Nevertheless, if the gland has entirely prolapsed, your cat will require surgery sooner rather than later.

Many pet owners are clueless about when it is time to take their animals to the doctor. Consultation with a veterinarian is the initial step in treating cherry eye, even if surgery isn’t necessary straight away. Here’s where it helps to know Dutch. When their dogs aren’t experiencing life-threatening symptoms, pet owners may turn to Dutch’s telemedicine services and expert assistance.

If your dog’s eyesight is causing you concern, a professional veterinarian can help you identify the problem and advise you on how to cure it, all without you leaving the house. In addition to prescribing the appropriate medication to alleviate your dog’s dry eye caused by cherry eye, doctors in the Netherlands may also inform you of the many surgical alternatives accessible to your pet.