Sunday, February 28, 2010
Cherry Eye - You do not want to put these on your ice cream sundae!
If you don’t know what a cherry eye is, let me describe it to you. In most dogs it looks like there is an alien growing out of your dogs eye. About the size of a pea it is usually bright pink (hence the cherry part) and a little oozy.
Luckily this structure isn’t alien at all. Okay, it is a bit weird though. You see dogs have 3 eyelids! The same two we have plus another white one that comes up to protect the eye in an emergency.
Underneath of this cool membrane is a gland that helps make tears. In most dogs it stays hidden under there, their whole lives without a problem.
However in certain breeds (especially Cocker Spaniels and Yorkies) that gland breaks free of its ligament and POP everybody can see it.
Now it isn’t dangerous to the dog’s health at all, but if we don’t put that little gland where it is supposed to be, we can lose tears over time and create a condition called ‘dry eye’ (and yes it is itchy, scratchy, and uncomfortable as it sounds).
That’s also the reason we don’t just snip that gland out. Later in life we are going to need those tears, darn it!
So the best route is to surgically suture the gland back in place. But be forewarned. This is fragile tissue we are talking about. About 20-35% of the time, the gland pops back out and sometime whether we like it or not, we have to remove the gland rather than let it irritate the eye.
Many times before surgery we use antibiotic to quiet the inflammation and makes the dog feel more comfortable.
The moral to this blog? An alien is not living in your dog’s eye. Just have it checked out by your vet and your both will figure out how best to fix the situation!