Cherry eye is caused by a prolapsed gland of a dog's third eye lid. It appears as a very red, cherry-like protrusion at the inner corner of the dog’s eye. Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Shih Tzus, Llasa Apsos and bloodhounds are just some of the breeds that are susceptible to this condition. Bulldog puppies between the ages of 10 and 16 weeks often show symptoms of cherry eye. Cherry eye should be treated by your veterinarian to prevent further damage.
Cherry eye may come and go, or it may be constant. If cherry eye is intermittent, your veterinarian may recommend massaging the gland back into position using antibiotic ointment as a lubricant and anti-infection agent. Listen to your vet's instructions on the correct way to do this procedure, which will need to be done whenever the gland becomes visible. Not treating the condition can result in damage to your dog’s cornea and eventual blindness.
Surgical Positioning of the Gland
The accepted method of dealing with the prolapse of the lachrymal gland today is re-positioning the gland and holding it in place with small stitches. This serves as a replacement for the ligament that normally holds the gland in place that is not functioning in animals with cherry eye. Antibiotics are generally given for a few days afterward. When an experienced veterinary ophthalmic surgeon performs the procedure, the results are generally successful. However, cherry eye can return in roughly 25 percent of dogs with the condition, according to WebVet.com.
Surgical Removal of the Gland
In the past, many veterinarians recommended surgery to completely remove the prolapsed gland. This, however, reduced the dog’s tear production so that for the rest of its life it had to receive eye moistening medications to replace the tears. Today, veterinarians opt for the repositioning surgery that tacks the gland carefully back into the correct position. Some breeders, however, choose to have the veterinarian remove half or three-quarters of the gland so that some tear production remains, according to Bullpaws.com. Consult your vet to decide what is best for your bulldog.