Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is a condition that affects dogs and is particularly prevalent within certain breeds including bulldogs, beagles, and cocker spaniels. Cherry Eye, scientifically known as prolapse of the nictitans gland, typically occurs when the gland located in the dog's third eyelid protrudes or swells, resembling a small, reddish mass.   

At Local Vets, are well-versed in treating Cherry Eye. We provide the highest quality care with tailored care plans to suit your pet’s specific needs. Local Vets are specialist veterinarians who are well-equipped to identify the specific causes of cherry eye and provide effective treatment. Worried about Cherry Eye in your pooch? Get in touch today!  


Causes of Cherry Eye

While the exact cause of Cherry Eye is not always clear, several factors contribute to the development of the condition.  

Genetics: There is a strong genetic predisposition to this condition, and certain breeds are more susceptible. Breeds such as Bulldogs, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, and other brachycephalic breeds are known to have a higher incidence of cherry eye. 

Weak Connective Tissue: Dogs with weakened or insufficient connective tissue around the eye are more prone to this condition. The connective tissue helps to anchor the gland in place, and if it is not robust enough, the gland can prolapse. 

Hereditary Factors: The hereditary nature of Cherry Eye suggests that the condition can be passed down from one generation to the next within specific bloodlines. Responsible breeding practices can help mitigate the risk of hereditary conditions. 

Environmental Stressors: Environmental factors, such as exposure to irritants or allergens, can contribute to the development of the disease. Prolonged exposure to elements that cause eye irritation may increase the likelihood of gland prolapse. 

Bacterial Infections or Inflammation: Infection or inflammation of the eye can lead to the weakening of the connective tissue, making it easier for the gland to prolapse. Proper eye hygiene and prompt treatment of eye infections can help reduce the risk. 

How to treat Cherry Eye 

There are different ways Cherry Eye can be treated. At Local Vets, your vet will advise what the best plan of action is for your poorly pup. The two available treatment routes are: 

Medication: Your vet will administer a combination of lubricants and anti-inflammatory drops to your dog. This method is used to help encourage the prolapsed eyelid gland back to its normal position.   

Surgical pocket technique: Your vet will use a general anaesthetic to put the animal under, and they will stick the gland back into the pocket. This treatment is the most effective as a long-term resolution, however, the surgical approach is not suitable for our young pups. We do not recommend using a general anaesthetic where possible, for very young or older dogs.  

bulldog receiving treatment from a vet
zoomed in view of a dogs eye

What can happen if Cherry Eye is left untreated?

If Cherry Eye is not treated, potential complications for your pup can arise.   

  • Irritation and discomfort  
  • Secondary Infections 
  • Reduced Tear Production 
  • Corneal Ulcers 
  • Chronic Conjunctivitis 
  • Permanent Damage to the Glad 
  • Cosmetic concerns  

Can Cherry Eye occur in both eyes?

Cherry Eye can occur in both eyes of a dog, though it is not always simultaneous. In some cases, the condition may initially affect one eye, and without proper intervention, it could progress to involve the other eye. Alternatively, a dog may develop the condition in both eyes simultaneously. If Cherry Eye is only appearing in one eye, your vet will monitor both to ensure no signs are present.

Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help prevent complications and improve the chances of successful resolution, whether the condition affects one or both eyes. The condition can be treated by our team of experienced vets at both our Halesowen and Oldbury Clinics. Let us help you and your dog down the path of a speedy, successful recovery today.