Monday, September 11, 2006

Cherry Eye in English Bulldogs

Cherry Eye in Dogs: "The medical term for 'cherry eye' is nictitans gland prolapse, or prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. Unlike people, dogs have a 'third eyelid' that contains a tear gland and is located in the corner of each eye. Under normal circumstances, this gland is not visible and aids in the production of tears. For some reason, which is not completely understood, the gland of the third eyelid prolapses or comes out of its normal position and swells creating the condition known as cherry eye.
What dogs are likely to get cherry eye?
Any dog can develop cherry eye, but there are several breeds that appear to have a higher incidence of developing it in both eyes. They are: the Beagle, Bloodhound, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Saint Bernard, and Shar-Pei. Dogs can acquire this condition at any age and it affects males and females equally.
What causes it?
The exact cause of cherry eye is not known, but it is strongly suspected that it is due to a weakness of the connective tissue that attaches the gland to the surrounding structures of the eye. The weakness of the connective tissue allows the gland to prolapse. Once the gland prolapses and is exposed to the dry air and irritants, it can become infected and/or begin to swell. The gland often becomes irritated, red, and swollen. There is sometimes a mucous discharge and if the animals rub or scratch at it, they can traumatize the gland further or possibly create an ulcer on the surface of the eye.
What is the treatment?
Treatment of cherry eye is very straightforward and consists of surgically repositioning the gland. Topical or injectable treatments of antibiotics and steroids are rarely effective in reducing the gland and allowing for correction without surgery. Because the exposed gland is at greater risk for
-- perhaps it's that flat face on the bulldog - not enough room for all those glands


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