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Does your dog have a red mass on the side of their eye? This could be a cherry eye. Cherry eyes are commonly seen in brachiocephalic dog breeds or those with a short nose. 

Cherry eyes, while not life-threatening, can cause irritation and damage to the surface of your dog’s eye. 

If you think that your dog has a cherry eye, it would be best for them to see a vet as soon as possible so that this does not cause any harm to your dog’s eye and hinder their vision.

What is Cherry Eye in Dogs?

A cherry eye is a swollen 3rd eyelid gland. This gland lives under the bottom lid of your dog’s eye, one the side near their nose. 

When this gland gets inflamed, it will pop out from under the 3rd eyelid. Sometimes this will appear and, after a day or two, go away. Many times, this stays protruding from the eye.

What breeds are more common to develop a cherry eye? While any dog can get a cherry eye, it is more commonly seen in brachiocephalic dogs. Common breeds that get cherry eyes are:

  • French bulldogs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Pit bulls

Some of the most common signs of cherry eye’s in dogs are:

  • Swollen and red tissue in the corner of your dog’s eye
  • Discharge from your dog’s eye
  • Your dog is pawing at their eye
  •  Red and inflamed eye

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, it would be best for them to see your vet. Many eye issues need early treatment for the eye to heal properly.

Surgical Procedure of Cherry Eye in Dogs 

How is cherry eye treated in dogs? The most common way to treat a cherry eye in a dog’s eye is by surgery. 

This issue very rarely goes away on its own. Your vet may recommend eye drops for a few weeks to treat any infection that it may have caused before proceeding to surgery.

There are two different ways of doing this procedure: removing the gland or the pocket technique.

Removing the Gland

Many older vets were taught to just remove the gland. This procedure is now only done if there is severe damage to the gland or neoplasia affecting the gland. 

While your dog can live a normal life without this gland, it does help with tear production. By removing this gland, most dogs will develop dry eye or Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS).

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Pocket Technique

The modified Morgan pocket technique is the most common procedure that is done to replace the gland behind the eye.

 In this procedure, there will be an incision made on each side of the gland. Each side of the incision will be closed over the gland, thus making a pocket. 

With this procedure, the gland is left in place and will allow normal tear production to continue.

The Cost of Cherry Eye Surgery For Dogs

Generally, the cost of cherry eye surgery for dogs is $400 to $1,000. The cost of this procedure will vary depending on where you live and who does the procedure.

After the surgery, your dog will need to wear an e-collar to prevent them from rubbing their eye and possibly need eye drops for a few weeks to help prevent any infections or post-operative complications.

Some vets may recommend that you do this procedure at the same time as your dog’s spay or neuter to help decrease the overall cost and number of times that your dog will need anesthesia.

Complications of Cherry Eye Surgery in Dogs

These are some complications that can happen after a Cherry Eye Surgery. These can add up some costs to the previously mentioned costs of cherry eye surgery in dogs.

Failure of Surgery

Most of the time, these glands stay in place. Sometimes the pocket does not heal properly, causing the cherry eye to return. This would require your dog to have a second surgery.

Corneal Ulcers

Corneal Ulcers are another complication that can happen after surgery. Your dog will need to wear an e-collar while they are recovering. This prevents them from being able to scratch their eye, causing an ulcer.

 Some dogs are great a removing their e-collars when owners are not looking and can cause damage to their eyes.

Eye Infection

Your dog’s eye produce tears that help trap debris and other particles. These tears can cause the surgical site to become infected. 

Usually, your vet will send you home with pain medications and antibiotic eye drops to use for a few days after surgery to help decrease any risk of infection.

Final Thoughts

If you notice that your dog has a cherry eye, it would be best for your vet to see your dog right away.

 Not fixing a cherry eye can cause the gland to rub against the surface of your dog’s eye, creating an ulcer. These are very painful and can cause your dog to lose sight.

 Cherry eye surgeries are commonly done at many general veterinary clinics and have great success in keeping the gland in place. 

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