If you own a beagle, you may have noticed a small, pink triangular tissue in the inner corner of their eyes. This is the third eyelid, or the gland of the nicitans, which helps produce tears and protect the eyes. However, sometimes this gland can pop out of its normal position and appear as a red, swollen mass that looks like a cherry. This condition is called cherry eye, and it can affect one or both eyes of your beagle.
What causes cherry eye in beagles?
Cherry eye is thought to occur because the fibrous tissue holding the third eyelid gland in place is weaker than it should be. Certain breeds, including beagles, are known to be at higher risk, suggesting the condition is likely somewhat hereditary, but a clear genetic cause has not yet been identified. Cherry eye is most commonly seen in younger dogs but can also occur in older dogs.
What are the symptoms of cherry eye in beagles?
The most obvious symptom of cherry eye is the red, round swelling at the corner of the eye. This swelling may vary in size and color, from bubble gum pink to dark red. It may also partially or completely cover the eyeball. Cherry eye is not painful for your beagle, so they may not show any signs of discomfort or irritation. However, if left untreated, cherry eye can lead to dry eye syndrome, which is a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears. Dry eye syndrome can cause redness, crusting, discharge, and inflammation of the eyes. It can also make your beagle more prone to infections and corneal ulcers.
How is cherry eye in beagles treated?
The best way to treat cherry eye in beagles is to surgically reposition the gland back to its usual place. This procedure preserves the function of the gland and prevents dry eye syndrome. The surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia and involves making a small incision in the third eyelid and creating a pocket for the gland to sit in. The incision is then closed with sutures that dissolve over time. The surgery has a high success rate and low complication rate.
Alternatively, some veterinarians may recommend removing the gland entirely. This procedure is simpler and cheaper than repositioning the gland, but it also eliminates the tear production of the gland. This means that your beagle will need lifelong artificial tear supplements to prevent dry eye syndrome. Removing the gland may also affect the appearance of your beagle’s eye, making it look sunken or smaller than normal.
In some cases, cherry eye may resolve on its own or with gentle massage. However, this is rare and not recommended as a reliable treatment option. Using topical medications such as steroids or antibiotics may help reduce inflammation and infection, but they will not fix the underlying problem of cherry eye.
How can you prevent cherry eye in beagles?
Unfortunately, there is no real way to prevent cherry eye in your beagles, but keeping your dog generally healthy can go a long way in helping them from developing it. Some tips to keep your beagle’s eyes healthy are:
– Feed them a balanced diet that supports their immune system and overall health
– Provide them with fresh water at all times
– Avoid exposing them to irritants such as dust, smoke, or chemicals
– Check their eyes regularly for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge
– Take them to the veterinarian for routine check-ups and vaccinations
– Seek veterinary attention as soon as you notice any signs of cherry eye
Cherry eye is a common condition that affects many beagles. It is not life-threatening, but it can cause discomfort and complications if left untreated. The best way to treat cherry eye is to surgically reposition or remove the gland. Doing so can restore your beagle’s vision and quality of life.
If your dog is suffering from cherry eyes. In that case, it is highly advised to consult at least 2-3 veterinarians to get their opinions on the condition of your dog’s cherry eyes before deciding on surgery.