Will A Cocker Spaniels Cherry Eye Go Away On It’s Own?

Will A Cocker Spaniels Cherry Eye Go Away On It’s Own?

I was at my local Cocker Spaniel ‘meet-up’ at the weekend and I couldn’t help but notice the number of dogs there that had a cherry eye. It was quite the topic of conversation too with many asking whether their Cocker Spaniels Cherry Eye will go away on its own?

If you leave cherry eye untreated, not only will it never go away on its own but it can lead to more problems for your dog’s health. There are 3 different approaches that you can take to treat and cure cherry eye but before we look at those options, let’s first try and understand why Cherry Eye won’t go away on its own.

First Of All, What is Cherry Eye?

Now, this is where I could confuse myself, never mind the people who are reading this blog so instead of using the fancy medical names for Cherry Eye, I will try and explain things in plain old English.

Cherry Eye is a disorder of  <Insert Strange Name Here>. The strange name which I can’t even pronounce, and is also known as the third eyelid. This third eyelid is usually never seen.

This eyelid plays an important role in the protection of a dog’s eye by wiping away any dirt or dust. It also has a tear gland that produces around 35-40% of all the moisture in a pooch’s eye.

Cherry eye occurs when this third eyelid somehow slips out of place and produces a somewhat swollen lump. The end result is a pinkish cherry colored buldge, hence the name ‘Cherry’ name.

What Causes Cherry Eye

The main reason the third eyelid slips out of place is down to some weakness in one of the glands, again, I’m not going to even attempt to spell their names. The weakness causes the gland to prolapse and protrudes from the eye as the pinky fleshy mass I described above.

Cherry eye can occur in either eye. Often a dog will suffer from the cherry eye in both eyes but not necessarily at the same time.

Most cherry eye cases occur when the dog is between 6 months and 2 years old although there are cases when this can happen earlier or later. The age range is the average age range for cherry eye occurrence.

What Happens If You Leave Cherry Eye Untreated

Many years ago, cherry eye treatment was considered optional until the role of the <insert fancy word> gland was fully understood. This gland is responsible for 35 – 40% of tear production in dogs. When the gland is exposed for long periods of time, it’s at risk of possible infection or trauma resulting in a drastic loss of tear production.

It has been proven that many complications can occur if the cherry eye remains untreated.

Is Cherry Eye Painful

Cherry eyes can be a major problem for any afflicted dog. The bulging gland can become swollen, irritated and inflamed. Dogs’ natural reaction is to try and rub it using its paw or even along the carpet or on a rug causing even more pain.

There have been many reported cases where the dog didn’t suffer any of these symptoms from the cherry eye, even when left untreated so it seems that it doesn’t affect all dogs the same way.

Is Cherry Eye Contagious

No, cherry eye is certainly not contagious. Many people get confused and say it is but usually they are mistaken and are getting mixed up with the totally unrelated ‘Pink Eye’ which is very contagious.

If you have a dog that has confirmed cherry eye then don’t be concerned that your dog can pass it on…..it ain’t gonna happen.

Natural Treatment For Cherry Eye

There is a potential natural treatment for cherry eyes. The theory goes that if the third eyelid can pop out then it can pop back in. A visit to the vets will usually result in a few anti-inflammatory pills or injection and then a simple massaging session.

Very often, cherry eyes can be massaged back into the correct place with no need for surgery. If your dog has suffered from the cherry eye in the same eye on more than 2 occasions then your vet may be unwilling to do the massage procedure and will suggest surgery seen as the dog seems susceptible to a repeated cherry eye condition.

Surgical Treatment For Cherry Eye

Surgical Option 1

If natural treatment fails or a cherry eye keeps on returning, then the next recommended step is surgery. This surgery involves complete and total removal of the third eyelid.

While removal of the third eyelid will completely rid your dog of cherry eye, it will almost definitely lead to a problem called ‘Dry Eye’.

Dry eye is a condition that occurs because when the third eyelid is removed, your dog will lose up to 40% of its tear production like I already covered earlier in this article.

You can treat dry eye with 2 different options. Eye drops or a special lubrication gel can be applied to the eye that’s had the cherry eye removal treatment. The drops or gel will help lubricate the eye pretty much in the same way tears would.

If your dog went through this procedure, not only would he have to have the eye drops on a daily basis, but he would also be likely to develop a condition similar to conjunctivitis. Despite the daily drops and gel, this particular type of conjunctivitis can occur regularly in dogs who have had their third eyelid removed.

Surgical Option 2

The next surgical option is available is the repositioning of the tear gland. I have found that there are 3 different procedures to try and correct cherry eyes by changing the position of the tear gland. All 3 surgical techniques are very similar but the options come down to the breed and age of the dog needing the surgery.

Other things a vet will consider before performing a particular technique are the dog’s facial structure and which procedure is less likely to end in recurrence.

By positioning in the tear gland in a new place, the idea is that the eye will continue to produce the natural amount of tears keeping the eye fully lubricated, but it’s also positioned in a way that another prolapse is unlikely.

This type of surgery is proving to be not only the most popular but also the most effective. This operation will also totally negate the need for daily eye drops or gels.

What To Expect After Cherry Eye Surgery

As with most operations on any dog, the biggest concern and headache for an owner is trying to stop your dog from getting to the wound.

Dogs natural reaction will be to try and rub its eye somehow, whether that be by rubbing with its paw or by scratching it along the floor.

The easiest way to stop this is by putting an Elizabethan collar cone on your dog.

Yes, your dog will hate the cone. It will catch the cone on all sorts of things when it is walking past a table for example or even through a doorway. Whenever I have had to put one of these cones on one of my dogs, you know what they have caught their cone on the most?…… My bloody legs, that’s what.

If you’re wearing shorts, that collar can scratch and hurt let me tell you.

Will Cherry Eye Surgery Be Covered By Pet Insurance

I’ve looked into this and while some insurance companies will cover your dog for cherry eye, many will not, mine included.

This is because some insurance companies consider cherry eyes to be hereditary but it’s been proven that it’s not. I have emailed my insurance company with documents about cherry eye not being hereditary and I’m yet to hear back from them……surprise surprise!!!

Is Cherry Eye Hereditary?

See Above!!

Cherry eye is not hereditary. There seems to be some confusion over this with many people online claiming that it is. Vets around the world have come to the conclusion that there’s no evidence to confirm any hereditary connection and have advised breeders of this fact.

Is Cherry Eye Common In Spaniels?

It is common, very common, not only in Cockers but all breeds of Spaniels seem quite prone to Cherry eye. It doesn’t seem to affect many dogs larger than Spaniels while smaller dogs are also common sufferers such as Pugs, French Bulldogs and West Highland Terriers to name a few.

I myself have been very lucky. Over the years I have had numerous Spaniels and I’m yet to experience Cherry Eye first hand. My old boy Guinness is over 12 years old now so I think it’s pretty safe to say he won’t get it now.

Remember, if you think your dog has a cherry eye, don’t panic. Book an appointment at your vets and get him/her seen to as soon as you can.

With a bit of luck, a gentle massage is all your pooch will need to rid it of cherry eye. If the worst comes to the worst and your little gem needs surgery then at least you know it will never have to go through that again, on the same eye anyway.

CockerSpanielWorld.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Recent Posts