Whether you have a Golden Retriever dog, or one of another breed, it’s important to be aware of all the health conditions they can get. Dogs can be susceptible to more diseases than we are since they can’t examine themselves in the mirror or wash their faces properly.
One concern that you should be aware of is that certain breeds of dogs can get cherry eye. If this condition is diagnosed quickly, it can be treated.
What Is Cherry Eye?
Cherry eye usually only affects one eye in your dog, so you can easily see it. It involves a red bump in the corner of the eye closest to your dog’s nose. The eye can appear to be a bit swollen. Cherry eye is the prolapse of the tear gland on your dog’s third eyelid.
All dogs have three eyelids, not the two that us humans have. This third eyelid is called the nictitating membrane. It’s located on each of the lower eyelids of the dog. It’s purpose is to provide an additional layer of protection for your dog’s eyes. Within it is a tear gland that produces tears to lubricate your dog’s eyes.
There can be a failure of the ligament that holds this gland in place. The ligament can stretch, or in a worst-case scenario, fully detach from the orbital bone. This causes the gland to move out of place, also called “prolapse” in medical terms. This is how you’ll see it visible above the eyelid, hence the cherry eye name.
Cherry eye is medically what your dog’s eye looks like beneath the eyelid, so technically it’s not a tumour or infection that has appeared. However, it’s still a condition that should be treated, as it can cause discomfort in your dog.
It’s possible that this condition could also be an infection and not cherry eye, so it’s best to book an appointment at the veterinary clinic for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Are Golden Retrievers Affected By Cherry Eye?
There are other dog breeds that actually have a higher risk of cherry eye than golden retrievers. Just some of these breeds include Basset Hounds, Beagles, Boxes, Boston Terriers, Pugs, Saint Bernards, and Terriers. The dog breeds that are susceptible to cherry eye are the ones with the shorter muzzles, rather than dogs that have longer noses and full-sized faces. Puppies can be particularly susceptible too.
So yes, golden retrievers can also get cherry eye, though they don’t have the higher risk that some of the other breeds do.
How Do I Know My Golden Retriever Has Cherry Eye?
A visual inspection is all that’s needed. It’s easy to spot. It usually only affects one of your dog’s eyes in the corner nearest the nose. If your dog has two fully red eyes, this can indicate another health condition, such as an infection, but it is still possible for your dog to get cherry eye in both eyes.
You’ll see near the corner of your dog’s eye a red or pink fleshy swelling. It will be different than the other eye. It’s called cherry eye, because the colour can be likened to a cherry pit.
Is My Golden Retriever Suffering from Cherry Eye?
If your dog was fine yesterday, and today you detect that he/she has cherry eye, then you’ll be relieved to know that cherry eye isn’t painful in the early stages. Your dog may not even be aware that something is wrong.
Do I Need to Treat Cherry Eye?
Yes, you should have your dog treated for cherry eye. If left untreated, your dog is at greater risk for dry eye and eye infections. This tear gland is responsible for up to 66 percent of your dog’s tears.
If prolapse occurs, the eyes could dry out. Your dog could become annoyed, and try to rub their eyes or worse, scratch their eyes, leading to a serious eye infection.
Over time, this can be irritable to your dog. It’s important to take your dog to the vet so that the gland can be properly reattached.
What Kinds of Cherry Eye Treatment Are Available?
After your first clinic visit the vet will prescribe eye drops for your dog. This is to help decrease inflammation in the eye. The drops will help to provide lubrication for the eye too, so your dog starts to feel better. However, this is not a cure for cherry eye, it’s only to relieve some of the discomfort.
The only way to truly cure cherry eye is through surgery. During this procedure, the gland is moved back into position and secured with sutures. It is important for your dog to have a fully functioning eye that produces tears in order to prevent future eye infections, or worse, the loss of their eye.
Surgery may seem extreme, but it’s quite effective, and will prevent future issues with your dog that may cost even more in the years ahead. If the gland slips out of position, it rarely resolves on its own. Surgery is the only option.
How Long Will It Take to Recover from Cherry Eye Surgery?
This is a common type of surgery for dogs, and it highly successful. The surgery is short, and the recovery time is short too. It will only take a couple of weeks for your dog’s eye to fully heal.
You’ll need to book another appointment at the vet clinic to follow up. During the healing time, your dog will also need to wear a cone to keep them from pawing at their eyes and doing further damage.
Seeing your dog have a red eye can be quite distressing. It may even be annoying your dog. If the redness is in only one eye near the nose, then most likely it is cherry eye and not a bad eye infection.
There are treatment options, so do take your dog to the vet. Soon the condition will resolve, and you and your dog will be feeling much better!