Cherry Eye in Dogs

Three Minutes
Apr 20, 2022

Unlike us, dogs have a third eyelid which contains a tear gland in the corner of each eye. Cherry eye is the prolapse of the third eyelid. When the third eyelid is not prolapsed, you will not be able to see the tear gland. There are cases where the glad comes out of its normal position and swells which creates the ‘cherry eye’ effect. Once the gland is exposed, there is a large possibility of it becoming infected, swollen and irritated often resulting in discharge.

Symptoms of Cherry Eye

Symptoms may include:

  • Oval mass in the corner of your dog’s eye in one or both eyes
  • Swelling
  • Irritation
  • Itching

Common Breeds Affected by Cherry Eye

Any breed of dog can develop cherry eye; however, it can commonly be found in the following breeds:

Cherry eye affects each gender equally and occurs regardless of age. The cause of cherry eye is unknown; however, it is generally believed to be caused by weakness of the connective tissue surrounding the eye.

Is Treatment Required?

Yes. Although cherry eye is not life-threatening, if you do not get treatment for cherry eye, your dog may itch the gland and injure the eye. Most commonly, dogs who scratch their eyes will cause an ulcer on the surface of their eye. Antibiotics are generally not effective for cherry eye and the veterinarian is likely to immediately recommend surgery to reposition the tear gland.

In addition to potentially causing an ulcer, dogs may develop ‘dry eye’ if the condition is not treated immediately. The tear gland is responsible for creating your dog’s tears and if it is not positioned correctly it will not work properly. Most surgeries are performed without any complications. Following surgery, antibiotic ointment may be given for several days to ensure the area does not become infected following the procedure.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.