What It Is
Dogs have a third eyelid that contains the tear glands. This feature is not found in the human eye. Cherry eye is a condition of the prolapse of the third eyelid, which means that the tear gland pops out, becomes visible, and there can be swelling in the area near the eyes. Normally, the tear glands remain hidden under the third eyelid of the dogs. It helps in the production of the tears in the eyes. Since cherry eye causes a red lump in the inside corner of the dog's eye, it gives an impression of a cherry, and hence the name.
This condition is caused due to a weakness in the attachment of the tissue that connects the tear gland with the dogs eye. If the attachment is not strong enough, the gland protrudes out. However, it is not yet known whether this condition is hereditary or not.
The only symptom of this condition is the protrusion of an ovular-shaped mass from the eye of the dog. Either one or both the eyes can be affected. It can also swell up and cause irritation to the dog. At times, it may also be accompanied by a discharge.
Although this condition can affect any dog of any breed at any time, some breeds are more prone to it than others. Some of these breeds are listed below.
- Lhasa Apso
- Blood Hound
- Bull Terrier
- Shar Pei
- Boston Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
The cost involves various factors. First of all, it can vary according to the treatment procedure. Basically, there are three options for a pet owner for this surgery. The first method involves the removal of entire cherry eye. It is cut away completely by a simple surgical procedure. However, many veterinarians and pet owners prefer to avoid this method because during this surgical process, the tear gland is also removed, thereby risking the problem of dry eyes. The cost involved in this process is the least. However, it is also the most outdated procedure.
In the second method, the cherry eyes are pulled back to their original position and are stitched to remain intact there. However, some cases have shown that the problem recurs again. The cost in this method ranges between USD 400 to USD 500.
The third method, called the pocket technique surgery, involves making two small incisions, thus creating a pocket and inserting the membrane into it. The cost in this method is the highest. Here, the tear glands remain intact and so there is no problem of dry eyes. It is considered to be the best option among the three surgeries. The cost can range between USD 250 (starting costs) to USD 1000 (till the end). However, the cost also depends on which area you live in and the vet that you go to.
There are definitely some pros and cons associated with all these procedures. Your pet's eyesight should be the most important issue for you, so before going for any surgeries, remember to give your best to treat the eye problem by some non-surgical methods. Some of the methods like complete removal are risky and very few veterinarians adopt it nowadays. Whatever method you choose, the safety of your pet must be the first priority.
After the procedure, the vet may recommend some antibiotic eye drops or medications. Also, an Elizabethan collar must be put around your dogs neck to prevent him/her from touching the operated eye with the paw, as this can disturb the stitches. Also, you should keep a look-out for symptoms of dry eyes, any kind of discharge from the eye, or for a recurrence of this condition. Although the chances are very low, there is still a possibility of the cherry eye coming back.