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"Dogs are not our whole lives, but they help make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

Cherry Eye


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Some breeds with higher occurrences of cherry eye include the American cocker spaniel, English bulldog, beagle, Chinese shar-pei, Newfoundland, bloodhound, Lhasa apso, miniature poodle, and shih tzu.


  • A weakness of the ligamentous attachment of the gland of the third eyelid is believed to be the most common cause.
  • Although this weakness may be a heritable condition, the inheritance pattern is unknown.
  • Prolapse of the gland may occur secondary to inflammation caused by irritants (sand/dirt, allergies, etc.).
  • Idiopathic (unknown cause) forms also exist.

Methods of Treatment

Fixing can cost anywhere from $60 to $1000, depending upon the veterinarian (and your geographical location) and which method is used to correct the cherry eye.

I have observed a cherry eye surgery ($50 total cost around 2007), which took 15 minutes from start to finish. Both surgical methods (below) are quick procedures. Some veterinarians charge accordingly, and some...well, they make good money.

  1. Massage (see link below)
  2. Removal of the gland. This procedure is often effective, and inexpensive. The gland of the third eyelid produces about 30% of the eye's tears. Without the tears produced by the third eyelid, some dogs could suffer from the condition known as 'dry eye.'  It may not cause any problems at all, but if it does, daily eye drops are necessary.
  3. Repositioning of the gland. The preferred surgical option is to surgically tack the gland back into place with a suture that attaches the gland to the deeper structures of the eye socket. Most of these surgeries are performed quickly and have very few complications, and allow the gland to return to normal function. After the surgery, some animals may need to be placed on antibiotic ointment for a few days. One disadvantage of this method is that it sometimes doesn't work, and must be performed again. This can be costly if your veterinarian is one that has higher charges (typically if you live in/hear a city, as urban veterinarians charge multiple times more for procedures as more rural clinics).

Photo above taken the day after surgery.

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Last Updated
05/07/2011 09:32 AM -0500

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Cedar Ridge Beagles
c/o Toni Perdew
(the best method to reach me is via e-mail)
Bedford, Iowa
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