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Cherry Eye in Dogs

Cherry Eye in Dogs

Cherry eye is a disease that is commonly seen in certain breeds of dogs. The following DogAppy article will cover some information on treatment options that will offer relief to the canine to some extent.
DogAppy Staff
There are several dog breeds that commonly suffer from a cherry eye. Some of these breeds include, beagles, bloodhound, Boston terrier, Lhasa Apso, Saint Bernard, Shar Pei, Bulldog, etc. Any dog irrespective of age or sex can develop this condition.

What is a Cherry Eye?
It refers to the condition in which, the dog suffers from a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. There are three eyelids in every type of dog breed, upper, lower, and the third eyelid. The third eyelid is not usually seen, and functions as a wiper to protect the eye from external matter. When this third eyelid pops out it appears like a red mass of tissue in the corner of the eye.

This condition usually occurs within one year of the dog's age. It usually occurs due to weakness of the connective tissue around the third eyelid gland. This gland begins to move causing it to get irritated and swell. It leads to mucous discharge, and the eyelid becomes bloody, ulcerated, and leads to conjunctivitis.

Causes
This eye problem is thought to be a hereditary condition in the above-mentioned dog breeds. However, doctors are not yet very clear on the genetics part. Some veterinarians believe that it may be due to weak connective tissues of the eye. These tissues allow the gland to move away from its proper position, i.e., prolapse of the gland. This makes it irritable and inflamed. The gland becomes prone to secondary bacterial infections leading to idiopathic third eyelid tear duct conditions.

Symptoms
  • Red mass or oval, pink-colored tissue that protrudes from the corner of the eye towards the nose
  • Thick discharge from the eye
  • Watery eyes
  • Red conjunctiva
  • The dog tries to paw the eye sometimes
Treatment
The veterinarian surgeon may try to replace the gland in its original position with a suture. There are several other surgeries that help in correcting the problem.

There are three types of surgeries carried out for this condition - the complete removal, partial removal, and 'pocket technique'. The 'pocket technique' is the most effective and expensive of all surgeries. This type of surgery costs about $250, and in certain extreme cases, it can cost up to $1000. Partial and complete removal surgeries cost about $100 to $400, and if an alternate tear duct is created, it may cost about $500. The vet may also prescribe tropical or injectable treatment methods of antibiotics and steroids. Thus, the surgery cost may rise accordingly. The vet is the best person, who can advise you on the overall cost of the treatment.

Home Remedies
There are not many options related to home remedies for the condition. You have to visit a veterinarian to treat this eye problem in your pet. However, you can comfort your dog by trying the further mentioned home remedies. You can try gentle massaging of the eye using light, circular motion. It will help in unblocking the tear duct of the eye of your dog. Make sure you do not scratch the dog's eye or apply excess pressure.

Also, when the swelling on the eye starts reducing, you can try closing your dog's eye. Then gently push the gland in towards the nose to get the gland in place. You need to attempt this step with a lot of caution, and if the dog feels any discomfort, stop immediately. You can even use warm compress to help in easing the process of pushing the gland back. Make sure you do this very, very gently, as you do not want to cause any kind of damage to the dog's eye.

It is thought that this is not a painful condition. However, it may cause some amount of changes in your pet's appearance. You should seek medical help to avoid any secondary problem.