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Unlike us, dogs have a third eyelid which contains a tear gland in the corner of each eye. Cherry eye is the prolapse of the third eyelid. When the third eyelid is not prolapsed, you will not be able to see the tear gland. There are cases where the glad comes out of its normal position and swells which creates the ‘cherry eye’ effect. Once the gland is exposed, there is a large possibility of it becoming infected, swollen and irritated often resulting in discharge.
Symptoms of Cherry Eye
Common Breeds Affected by Cherry Eye
Any breed of dog can develop cherry eye; however, it is most commonly found in the following breeds:
Cherry eye affects each gender equally and occurs regardless of age. The cause of cherry eye is unknown; however, it is generally believed to be caused by weakness of the connective tissue surrounding the eye.
Is treatment required?
Absolutely. Although cherry eye is not life-threatening, if you do not get treatment for cherry eye, your dog may itch the gland and injure the eye. Most commonly, dogs who scratch their eyes will cause an ulcer on the surface of their eye. Antibiotics are generally not effective for cherry eye and the veterinarian is likely to immediately recommend surgery to reposition the tear gland. In addition to potentially causing an ulcer, dogs may develop ‘dry eye’ if the condition is not treated immediately. The tear gland is responsible for creating your dog’s tears and if it is not positioned correctly it will not work properly. Most surgeries are performed without any complications. Following surgery, antibiotic ointment will be given for several days to ensure the area does not become infected following the procedure.
Amber L. Drake, a Professional Canine Behaviorist and Adjunct Professor of Biological Science, has extensive experience in the Animal Science Field. She has worked with dogs professionally for over ten years. Her clients range from private pet parents to large canine rescue organizations. In addition to accepting clients on a regular basis, Drake serves as an Adjunct Professor at Jamestown Community College and Kaplan University. Drake has earned a Doctor of Education (ABD), Educational Specialist Post-Masters, Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has completed coursework at Cornell University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, Veterinary Technology at Penn Foster and a number of Continuing Education courses to remain up-to-date in her field.