What Is Cherry Eye Disease In Dogs, What Are The Symptoms?

Dog Health

Cherry eye in dogs is the name given to the drooping of the third eyelid. The nictitative membrane is a tissue that secretes tears and is normally hidden in the corner of a dog’s eye. When the cherry eye occurs, this membrane grows out of the eye and appears as a pink colored mass in the corner of the eye. Cherry eye usually causes dryness and irritation of the eye, so it can lead to more serious eye problems. When cherry eye occurs, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible so that the situation does not cause a more serious discomfort. Cherry eye disease is not preventable. For this reason, dogs who are prone to cherry eye disease should have their eyes checked regularly.

dog with cherry eye disease

Cherry Eye Symptoms

The biggest symptom of this condition in cherry-eyed dogs, which can be called Cherry-eye dogs, is the appearance of a pink mass at the edge of the eye. The mass emerges from the corner of the eye close to the nose and cannot be seen when viewed from the outside. This mass may disappear spontaneously after a few days. However, it is usually permanent and causes some complications if left untreated.

Cherry eye symptoms include a pink-colored mass in the eye, a leaking dark fluid, and constant scratching of the eye. Other conditions can also cause these symptoms. Physical trauma or eye contact with a foreign substance also has symptoms similar to cherry eye disease. As a result of these situations, vision loss or physical loss of the eye may occur. In case of symptoms, a veterinarian should be consulted before proceeding. The earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

black dog lying on the ground

What Causes Cherry Eye?

Cherry eye is usually seen in dogs under the age of one. In case of loosening or rupture of the connective tissue holding the third eyelid in place, a discomfort called cherry eye occurs. It is not known exactly how this disorder occurs. On the other hand, treatment is usually done by surgical intervention. Cherry eye can occur in one or both eyes. Some dog breeds are more prone to cherry eye. American Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Basset Hound, Lhasa Apsos, English Bulldog, Chinese Sharpei, Newfoundland, Burmese and Cane Corso are dog breeds prone to cherry eye disease.

bloodshot dog

How Is Cherry Eye Diagnosed?

Since cherry eye disease can be seen easily from the outside, it can be diagnosed very easily. However, in order to evaluate the general health status of the eye, the veterinarian should perform a physical examination. With the swelling of the third eyelid, tear production decreases. The Schirmer Tear Test can be done to make sure the dog’s eye is not dry. In addition, it is also checked whether there are scratches on the cornea. Scratches or tears in the cornea can cause not only pain but also ulceration, infection and perforation.

dog lying on operating table

How Is Cherry Eye Treated?

Treatment for cherry eye disease in dogs is usually surgery. With cherry eye surgery, the eyelid gland located behind the third eyelid can be replaced. However, in cases where cherry eye discomfort is excessive, placement surgery may not be possible. Similarly, if cherry eye is not treated, the third eyelid gland may lose its function. In such cases, the third eyelid gland is surgically removed. Complete removal of the eyelid gland is considered a last resort. Because there is a permanent decrease in tear production and causes dry eye.

Cherry eye surgery is the only treatment option. Treatment results are generally successful. However, the success rate varies according to the condition of the disease. Performing the surgery immediately after the mass is seen increases the chance of success. On the other hand, the success rate decreases when expected.

dark brown fluffy dog ​​lying down

Cherry Eye Healing Process

The dog must wear an Elizabethan collar until recovery from surgery is over. Healing usually occurs within 14 days. Since young dogs are very energetic and active, it is very important to use the collar. Cherry eye surgery is usually a minimally invasive method, and the recovery period can be spent comfortably with painkillers to be used afterwards.

The third eyelid gland produces 35% of tears. Cherries lose their properties over time with eye discomfort and cause dryness of the eyes. Dry eye causes ulcers, infection or perforation in dogs. Cherry eye surgery reduces the risk of dry eye, but does not completely eliminate it. After cherry eye surgery, dry eye control should be done throughout the dog’s life. Dry eye can occur even years after surgery.

Cherry eye disease is not transmitted to humans or other living things. This disease occurs when the muscles cannot perform their function physically. Therefore, it is not contagious.

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