Category Archives: cherry eye

Which Dog Breeds are Most Likely to Develop Cherry Eye?

By Langley Cornwell

When you first see a dog with cherry eye it can be disconcerting, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking at. Clinically speaking, cherry eye is when a dog’s third eyelid develops a prolapsed gland; the condition is also known as prolapse nictitans gland. The prolapsed gland usually swells and turns bright red – which looks like a cherry perched in the inner corner of the dog’s eye, hence the name Cherry Eye.

We’ve discussed cherry eye here on the CANIDAE RPO blog before. Linda Cole’s article, What Causes Cherry Eye in Dogs, and How to Correct It, is filled with important information about this condition. While it’s possible for any dog to develop cherry eye, some breeds are more disposed than others. It seems that the shape and contour of a dog’s face is a contributing factor, and dog breeds with a short muzzle are more likely to develop this condition.

Cherry Eye in Dogs with a Short Muzzle

Because breeds with a short muzzle are predisposed to cherry eye, the condition seems to be common in young English Bulldogs, Boxers, Shar-Peis, Shih Tzus, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Bull Terriers, French Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Pekingese and Lhasa Apso, to name a few. While the condition can happen at any age, it usually occurs in dogs before the age of two years, and can be in a single eye or both eyes when initially presented.

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What Causes Cherry Eye in Dogs, and How to Correct It

Cherry Eye in Dogs
By Linda Cole

Cherry eye in dogs isn’t a life threatening condition, but if left untreated can cause your dog eye problems later on. If you’ve ever seen a red bulge in the corner of your dog’s eye, you’ve seen firsthand what cherry eye looks like. What causes cherry eye in dogs, and how is it treated?

A dog’s eye has three eyelids: an upper and lower lid, as well as a third eyelid we seldom see. The importance of the third eyelid is to give added protection to the dog’s eyes. It acts like a wipe to help keep the eye clear of dust and debris and has a tear gland that produces around 35% of the moisture to the dog’s eye. Sometimes the gland in the third eyelid, located in the corner of the eye next to the dog’s nose, slips out of place and bulges. We see it as a red or pinkish blob, and this bulge is what’s called cherry eye.

Why it slips out of place is not clear, but if it happens in one eye, more than likely it will happen in the other, although it can be months later. What you want to pay attention to in your dog’s eye is any watery or thick discharge, a red or pink blob in the corner of their eye, any redness in the lining of their eyelid or if your dog is pawing at his eye.

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