Dogs, unlike people have a third eyelid that contains a tear gland and this is located in the corner of both the eyes. As the name suggests, this gland id important for the reproduction of tears and under normal circumstances, it is not even visible. However at times, maybe due to the eyelid being loose or rough play, the gland prolapses or comes out of its normal position, leading to a swelling or a condition known as “cherry eye” or the “Prolapsed third eyelid gland (PTEG)”. Though any dog can develop a cherry eye, the incidence is higher among dogs like cocker spaniels.
Cocker Spaniel Cherry Eye is not a very dangerous problem as at first the cherry looking gland that is red and swollen appears to be scary but it can be treated at home initially if caught early. But if it is left untreated, it could lead to infection and the need for corrective surgery. Therefore one should avoid panicking and try to remedy the problem beforehand.
Though only at the very initial stages one can actually employ the method of very gently massaging the gland back into its place using the thumb with very light pressure. However this has to be done very carefully and when the dog is in a state of calm. If the gland doesn’t go in or the cherry eye reappears in a few days, one has to resort to corrective surgery.
For Cocker Spaniel Cherry Eye, the treatment has become quite straight and involves surgical repositioning of the gland. Topical treatments, steroids and antibiotic injections only provide temporary relief and if the gland remains exposed, it can lead to further inflammation and infection which in turn can be more dangerous.
Earlier surgeries for Cocker Spaniel Cherry Eye problem used to include complete surgical removal of the cherry gland but this proved to be cumbersome as it created further problems. This particular gland in the third eyelid, as has been mentioned before is very important for tear reproduction and when it used to be completely removed, it would inevitably lead to a medical condition known as “dry eye” or in medical terminology, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). A better and more effective procedure which retains the important gland actually consists of tucking the gland back into place surgically or into the deeper structures of the eye socket. Such surgeries have few complications and allow the gland to resume its normal functioning without having to let it go completely.
Cocker Spaniel Cherry Eye at the onset is not painful for the dog and as bad as it looks, one should not panic or make a fuss over it. If however it is left ignored, it can lead to severe complications as dogs get irritated and tend to rub it or claw at it.
Cocker Spaniel Cherry Eye surgery is a also a fairly common procedure and it is advisable to follow up what different vets recommend, keeping in mind that more than “removal”, anchoring the gland back to where it belongs is highly recommended and the Success rate of this simple, cosmetic surgery is pretty high.