When should I take my dog to the vet for cherry eye?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

As a dog owner, it’s important to be aware of any changes or abnormalities in your pet’s health. One condition that can affect dogs is known as cherry eye. Cherry eye occurs when the gland in the dog’s third eyelid becomes prolapsed or slips out of place, causing it to protrude and appear as a red, fleshy mass in the corner of the eye.

While cherry eye itself is not a medical emergency, it is still crucial to take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice this condition. The longer cherry eye goes untreated, the more complications can arise. The primary concern is that the protruding gland can become dry and irritated, leading to a condition called dry eye or keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Dry eye is a serious condition that can cause discomfort and pain for your dog, and if left untreated, it can progress to more severe complications, such as corneal ulcers and even vision loss.

Another potential risk of untreated cherry eye is the increased susceptibility to eye infections. The exposed gland is more vulnerable to bacteria and foreign particles, which can lead to infections and further discomfort for your furry friend. In some cases, these infections can progress to more severe conditions like conjunctivitis or pink eye.

Taking your dog to the vet as soon as you notice cherry eye is crucial because early intervention can help prevent these complications. The vet will be able to properly examine your dog’s eye and determine the best course of action. Treatment options for cherry eye may include medication to reduce inflammation and promote gland repositioning, or in more severe cases, surgical correction may be necessary.

In my personal experience, my dog developed cherry eye when he was around one year old. At first, I didn’t think much of it, assuming it would resolve on its own. However, as time went on, I noticed that his eye became increasingly irritated, and he started pawing at it frequently. Concerned, I took him to the vet, who confirmed that he had cherry eye.

The vet explained the potential complications that could arise if left untreated, including the risk of dry eye and eye infections. To prevent further discomfort and potential long-term issues, my dog underwent a surgical procedure to reposition the prolapsed gland. Thankfully, the surgery was successful, and my dog’s eye healed without any complications.

Based on my experience, I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking veterinary care promptly if you notice cherry eye in your dog. While it might not be an emergency, early intervention can prevent unnecessary discomfort and potential long-term complications. Remember, your vet is the best person to assess your dog’s condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.