Surgical Treatment for Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is one of the most common eye conditions affecting dogs of all breeds. The prolapsing of a tear duct gland in the dog's eye causes cherry eye. Although cherry eye may look like a serious condition, it is treated easily with a routine cherry eye surgery procedure.

Background and Causes of Cherry Eye

Dogs have a third eyelid to aid in the production of tears. Occasionally, the tear duct gland in this eyelid can become partially or completely detached. When it does this, the eye appears to have a bulging red mass in the inside corner, which is referred to as cherry eye.

Veterinarians do not know exactly what causes cherry eye, but certain breeds seem to be slightly more susceptible to the condition. It is thought that these breeds may have weaker connective tissue, which increases the likelihood of the gland detaching.

Cherry Eye Treatment

Cherry eye is correctable with a simple surgery. Leaving the eye untouched means that your dog is at increased risk of eye infection or other conditions, and cherry eye can be irritating as well. During the cherry eye surgery, a veterinary surgeon will manually reset the gland to its natural position and will reattach it to the rest of the eye. This surgery usually requires a general anesthetic, though your dog will be able to leave the vet's office with you after the procedure.

Following surgical resetting of the gland, it is very important that you monitor your dog closely. If he scratches or rubs at his eye he could cause complications or further irritation. Typically, your dog will need to be on antibiotics or other drugs to prevent infection for a short period of time following the procedure. Be careful to follow your veterinarian's post-operation instructions carefully, and don't hesitate to consult with the vet for advice follow the surgery.

Cherry Eye Removal

Another surgical treatment involves a cherry eye removal procedure in which the gland is taken out of the eye. While this will eliminate the chances of subsequent cherry eye episodes, removing the tear duct gland can cause a variety of related problems for your dog. The gland serves an essential function in maintaining the moisture of the eye, and dogs without the capability of producing normal tears tend to suffer from dry eyes as they age.

It has been shown that dogs who have had cherry eye surgically corrected quickly after onset of the condition have the lowest risk of repeat episodes. However, a dog that has suffered from cherry eye and had it surgically corrected is more likely to have a relapse of the condition later on, so it is important to pay careful attention to your dog's eyes after he has had cherry eye.

If your dog develops a bulbous red growth on one or both of his eyes, take him to a veterinarian as quickly as you can to have his condition corrected by surgery. Dogs with cherry eye are at no great risk of serious long-term health complications, but having the procedure done quickly will ensure that your pet experiences minimal irritation during an episode of cherry eye.