Cherry eye in your beagle dog

Before discussing the treatment of Cherry Eye in your Beagle dog, let us first define what Cherry Eye is. Cherry eye is another term used to describe nictitans gland prolapse. This eye condition is common to Beagles and other breeds such as Bulldog, Cocker Spaniel, Pekingese and Basset Hound. In these breeds, the gland of the third eyelid called nictitating membrane prolapses and becomes visible.

Unlike humans, dogs are blessed with three eyelids; upper, lower and third eyelid. This third eyelid located in the corner of the eye is invisible. It contains a tear gland that aids in the production of tears. When this eyelid prolapse, it becomes visible. This condition is called cherry eye. This often appears as round and red or pink mass in the corner of the eye. After the gland prolapse and becomes irritated, swelling with clear or mucus discharge occurs.

There is no known reason why the third eyelid prolapses. It has been said that this condition occurs because of the weakness of connective tissue around the gland. Other factors that could trigger the inflammation of the eyelid include dermatitis, metabolic or immune system problem, cancers, trauma or sun damage. Cherry eye is also considered congenital defect and is passed on from one generation to another.

Upon notice, some owners get alarmed thinking that this mass is a tumor. Fortunately, this condition can be treated with the help of your vet. The vet will first diagnose if it is really a cherry eye. The treatment usually requires surgical procedure to reposition the prolapsed gland, pushing it back to its original position. This procedure done with the help of local anesthesia shows around 80% success rate. In some cases, complete removal of the third eyelid is necessary. However, this treatment will surely affect the stability of the tear gland. Removing the third eyelid will also increase the risk of your Beagle dog to develop keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), also called dry eye. KCS is a serious eye disease caused by decreased tear production. Other methods, such as topical or injectable treatments of antibiotics and steroids are used to correct the condition. However, this treatment is not as effective compared to surgical procedure.

Cherry eye is a condition that is not impossible to treat. If left untreated, this condition may often last for up to two or three weeks but in some cases, may lead to more serious eye diseases. If that’s the case, you should really be alarmed!