Cherry Eye: What is it and how can you help your pet?

A prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid, cherry eye is a condition common in certain breed of dogs and cats. Both animals have three eyelids, the third of which typically goes unnoticed. This piece of the eye contains a tear gland and works to keep the eye clear of dirt and debris. This gland can tear and slip loose, creating the red bulge that is known as cherry eye. While this problem is not life threatening, it will cause swelling and can create eye problems later in life.

A hereditary condition that usually displays itself in dogs between the age of six months and two years, bulldogs, bloodhounds and cocker spaniels are among the breeds most commonly affected. Cat breeds like the Persian and Burmese are known to have cherry eye as well.

If you notice that a cherry eye has developed in your pet, contact your vet for treatment options. Here at Powell Veterinary Service we recommend surgical correction to push the gland of the third eyelid back into place. While a topical steroid can be applied, this medical approach is rarely successful. Performed under local anesthesia, surgery allows for a small piece of the gland to be removed and the rest to be tucked back into place, allowing for proper tear production to continue. If this option is not successful, the third eyelid can be removed. This procedure is usually suggested as a final attempt to fix your pet’s cherry eye, since it can lead to trouble with “dry eye” later in life.

After surgery, pay close attention to your pet’s eye as it heals, watching for redness in the lining of the eyelid, a cloudy cornea or thick discharge. Inflammation is normal and will take one to two weeks to go down.

Quick action is an important part of successful surgery, so please call us right away if your dog or cat is experiencing cherry eye. Located in Kersey, Colorado, we service an array of neighboring towns as well. To set up an appointment for your pet, call us at 970-352-9164.