Cherry Eye

Cherry eye is a common congenital condition describing a protrusion of a gland located in the third eye lid. Some dogs and less commonly, cats, will have a weak attachment of the gland, that eventually breaks off and allows the gland to prolapse upward. 

The condition is most frequently observed in young cocker spaniels, bulldogs, beagles, bloodhounds, lhasa apsos, shih tzus, and other brachycephalic ("flat face") breeds. In cats it is less common and affects mostly Burmese and Persians. 

Affected animals present with a red protrusion over the edge of the eye lid. Often, tearing, squinting, conjunctivitis and discharge will complicate the problem. 

The treatment is surgery. There are several procedures that can be used to correct and re-position the gland. In the past the gland was excised in some cases, but this technique should be avoided. 

The gland is responsible for half of the watery tear production and its removal can result in dry eye. The surgical recovery may be complicated by self-trauma and irritation. Elizabethan collars and antibiotic/anti-inflammatory ointments may help to minimize these complications. Post surgical recurrent rate is 5-20% and in these cases, a second surgery is needed. 

The prognosis is usually good.

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