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This Month's November Newsletter in Pet Wellness:
Cherry Eye In Dogs
Dogs have an eye condition not found in humans, a third eyelid
or nictitans membrane. This membrane has an important tear producing function,
in that it produces about 30% -40% of the dog's tears. There is little known
what causes the condition as studies are not quite clear if this is heredity
or genetic. The membrane also has a protective function in that it can be pulled
up to cover the eye when the eye is irritated or injured. Unfortunately, there
are certain breeds of dogs, Cocker Spaniel, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, English
Bulldog, Lhasa Apso, Beagle, Bloodhound, Shar Pei, etc. that are genetically
susceptible to a condition called "cherry eye" wherein the gland protrudes
from its normal position in the eye. This is the result of a weakness of the
connective tissue that holds the gland in its place and is seen as bulge in
the corner of the eye. The gland (s) can become irritated, red and swollen.
There is sometimes a mucous discharge. If the dog rubs or scratches at the eye,
they will cause further irritation, infection and could cause an ulcer on the
Failure to treat the condition can lead to damage of the gland
and loss of or decrease of function. At one time, the procedure to remove this
was done to remove just the growth only, but with research studies in the veterinarian
field in the study of the eyes, this surgery is not recommended and can cause
dry eye in later years and cause discomfort.
There are several schools of thought on how to treat this condition:
· Through surgery by an ophthalmologist wherein an incision
is made in the conjunctiva (eyelid), the gland is tucked into the slit and sutured
into place. This is a rather expensive procedure with a success rate of approximately
50%. It does however, eliminate the possibility of "dry eye" or Keratoconjunctivitis
sicca (KCS) that can result from removal of the part that is protruding. Dry
eye can be a nuisance as well as expensive to deal with and treat over the lifetime
of the dog.
· If the third eye lid is removed, this increases the changes dry eye.
· Surgical snipping of the protruding part. This does present a slight
possibility of the dog developing "dry eye" and the possibility of
some change in facial expression.
· Do nothing and see if the condition improves as the pet gets older.
It is uncertain if the situation will improve as the dog gets older but, worth
waiting to see. The best advice on what to do can be gotten from a veterinary
The surgery for correction of this condition is done on an outpatient
basis and the dog can go home after recovery from the anesthetic. Post-operative
care consists of topical and/or oral antibiotics and the wearing of an Elizabethan
collar. Care should be given to watch the dog during this time of recuperation.
As always your Veterinarian is the best source
of information and
treatment for questions or problems that may exist.
If you have any suggestions or comments or
would like to add to
our "Monthly Newsletter",
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