Cocker Spaniels seem to be more prone than any other breed to cherry eye, although there are other breeds of dogs that do get it as well. Most people get overwhelmed when they first see cherry eye on their dog, but don’t panic! It is not a tumor and there is a way to treat it without even visiting the vet if you are fortunate to catch it early enough.
What is Cherry Eye
To fully comprehend what it is and what you need to do about it, we have to start with what cherry eye actually is. There is a gland that usually resides underneath the eye lid, but when you have a dog with this type of syndrome, that gland has popped out from behind the eye lid and is now able to be seen on the bottom part of the eye.
The name of the syndrome comes from the fact that it looks like a cherry that has been sliced. Many people misdiagnose it as a tumor the first time that they see it. This is why it is so important to know what it is and what it looks like.
The good thing about a cherry eye is that it is a cosmetic problem most of the time. This means that your dog is not really in any immediate danger. As a human, we are just trained to expect things a certain way with ourselves. When we see something that is off, we tend to panic and try and find a way to fix it. We have carried this thought process on to our animals as well. We freak out when we see a glad popping out from an eye lid even though it is easily fixed. It can however lead to infection if it is not dealt with and just left to linger.
Cherry Eye Causes and Treatments
Cherry eye can happen when the lid on the eye is slightly loose, or it can happen when the dog has gotten into it with another animal. It has even been known to happen when the dog is playing and just gets a little to into the strenuous activity that they are participating in. If the dog was playing too rough and then the cherry eye occurred, it probably had nothing to do with the fact that the lid may have been lose. Cockers with perfect lids can have it occur if it hits just right during playtime.
So, how can you fix it? Most of the time you can just massage it back into place. That’s right, and you won’t even need a trip to the vet. Although if you don’t want to take the burden of massaging it back into place, you can always go to your vet anyways just to be on the safe side. Be aware though, it might end up costing you a pretty penny to have the surgery that they are probably going to suggest. For this reason I always suggest that people first attempt to fix this problem themselves if at all possible.
Cherry Eye Surgery
Once upon a time they did the surgery and just simply removed the gland in question, but they quickly found a problem with this method. That particular gland is the one that deals with tear production. So, all of the dogs that had this particular surgery back then ended up having dry eye problems after. Then the owners had to pay for ongoing medication in order to cure the dry eye problem. Luckily, that is not the way that they do it anymore for the most part. Now they do a replacement rather than a removal.
There are a couple of methods in which the vet will put the gland back into your dog’s eye socket in the place where it belongs. The first is by creating a pocket in which the gland will be moved back to and left completely intact. The other is where the vet will put a stitch in the back of the eye socket to the gland, and it will then be put back into place. Either way the gland should always remain intact and not removed so that the dog can continue to produce tears. If you have a vet that is suggesting you remove the gland, that is a good indication that you should move on to another vet or a specialist. You need to find someone that wants to simply put it back, not take it out all together
Breeding Is A No-No With Cherry Eye
If your dog has had cherry eye in the past that required surgery and you are thinking about breeding, you should stop thinking about it. You shouldn’t breed this dog as it can end up passing the same traits that gave it the cherry eye in the first place on to the puppies that it produces. If your dog had cherry eye but it was put back into place without surgery, you can still consider breeding.