What Is Cherry Eye In Dogs

What Is Cherry Eye In Dogs

Did you know that up to 30% of puppies under one year old can develop a condition known as cherry eye?

This condition, scientifically known as nictitans gland prolapse, manifests in a visible red swelling at the inner corner of the dog’s eye.

In this article, we’ll be diving deep into understanding what exactly cherry eye is and how it affects your four-legged companion.

We’ll explore symptoms to look out for, breeds most susceptible to this condition, how it’s diagnosed by veterinary professionals, and options for treatment and prevention.

Accurate knowledge about this common canine ailment is crucial in early detection and managing your pet’s comfort and health.

As a responsible pet owner, gaining insights on conditions like cherry eye empowers you to take proactive steps towards ensuring the well-being of your beloved furry friend.

Understanding the Condition

It’s as if your furry friend suddenly has a small, red cherry in the corner of their eye, hence the term ‘cherry eye’, a condition that can be both alarming and confusing for dog owners.

The Cherry Eye Origins trace back to an inflamed gland in the third eyelid, scientifically termed as nictitating membrane. This usually harmless but unsightly protrusion is visible due to its bright red appearance and swollen state.

Genetic Factors often play a significant role in this condition, making some breeds more susceptible than others. Breeds such as bulldogs, cocker spaniels, and shih tzus are commonly affected.

It’s essential to get it checked by a vet since untreated cherry eye can lead to secondary conditions like dry eyes or conjunctivitis.

Identifying the Symptoms

Spotting the tell-tale signs of this condition in your furry friend can be as clear as day, with symptoms such as a visible red mass protruding from the corner of their eyelid, excessive tearing or even noticeable discomfort.

Here are some ways to identify Cherry Eye:
* Through an Eye Discharge Examination, you might notice abnormal tear production or discharge which could indicate inflammation.

  • This could manifest as your dog constantly wiping its face due to irritation, leading to further discomfort and potentially exacerbating the issue.

  • Behavioral Changes Observations can also provide clues:

  • Your pet may avoid light more than usual or display signs of irritability.

  • They might paw at their eyes frequently, indicating persistent itchiness.

Remember that early detection plays a crucial role in effective treatment and management. Always consult with a professional if you notice these symptoms.

Recognizing Breeds at Risk

Certain breeds are more prone to this pesky problem, so it’s essential to be vigilant if your furry friend belongs to one of them. Breed predisposition plays a significant role in the occurrence of cherry eye in dogs. This means that genetic factors can make some dog breeds more susceptible than others.

Primarily, brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pugs often fall victim due to their unique facial structure. However, Beagles and Cocker Spaniels are also frequently affected. Even the small-sized Bichon Frise is not exempted from this risk.

It’s crucial to understand that while breed predisposition does play a part, it doesn’t guarantee your pet will develop cherry eye. Regular vet check-ups can help detect early signs and take preventive measures promptly.

Diagnosing the Condition

Diagnosing this condition in your canine companion can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, due to the subtlety of early signs. It’s essential to seek veterinary consultation immediately if you notice any abnormality around your dog’s eye area.

Veterinary professionals use several eye examination techniques to detect cherry eye accurately. Here’s an illustration:

Technique Purpose Process
Visual Examination Initial assessment of the eye condition Observing the eyes and surrounding areas carefully
Palpation Assessing changes in texture or swelling Gentle pressing on the affected area
Fluorescein Stain Test Detecting corneal abrasions or ulcers Application of a special dye that highlights damage
Schirmer Tear Test Measuring tear production Placement of small strip in lower eyelid

Remember, early diagnosis improves prognosis. So, stay vigilant about your pet’s health.

Treatment and Prevention Options

Understanding the right treatment and prevention options can feel overwhelming, but it’s crucial in giving your furry friend the best chance at a healthy life.

There are several potential paths to consider when addressing cherry eye in dogs:

  1. Surgical Methods: This is the most common and effective way to treat cherry eye. The affected gland is repositioned rather than removed to preserve tear production.

  2. Medication: Antibiotics or steroids may be prescribed by your vet, especially if there’s inflammation or infection.

  3. Alternative Therapies: Some pet owners opt for homeopathic remedies or acupuncture, though their efficacy varies.

  4. Prevention: Regular vet check-ups can detect early signs of cherry eye.

Remember, early detection and treatment can significantly improve prognosis and prevent further complications like dry eye syndrome or corneal ulcers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of treating cherry eye in dogs?

The cost of treating cherry eye in dogs varies, typically ranging from $300 to $800. Insurance coverage may offset these expenses. Surgical alternatives exist, but it’s crucial to discuss options with your veterinarian.

Can cherry eye in dogs be prevented through diet or any other natural means?

While dietary adjustments and natural remedies can enhance your dog’s overall health, they don’t directly prevent cherry eye. It’s a physical condition unrelated to diet or lifestyle, needing veterinary intervention for correction.

How long does it usually take for a dog to recover from cherry eye surgery?

Recovery from cherry eye surgery typically takes a few weeks. However, it’s critical to monitor for surgery complications and diligently follow post operative care instructions to ensure your dog’s swift and safe recovery.

Can cherry eye reoccur in dogs after treatment?

Yes, cherry eye can reoccur in dogs even after treatment. Your post-treatment care should involve monitoring for recurrence signs such as redness or swelling in your dog’s eye area. Consult a vet if symptoms persist.

Can cherry eye impact the lifespan or overall health of my dog?

While cherry eye doesn’t directly impact your dog’s lifespan, it can cause discomfort and behavioral changes. However, if left untreated, secondary infections may develop. Cherry eye genetics play a role in susceptibility to this condition.


In wrapping up, your furry friend’s peepers are a window to their wellbeing. Recognizing the signs of cherry eye and knowing if your pup is at risk can save you both from discomfort. Arm yourself with knowledge about diagnosis methods and available treatments.

Remember, preventing this little hiccup in their health journey could be as simple as regular check-ups with their vet. It’s all about keeping those tails wagging happily!